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Political and Social Issues in British Women’s Fiction, by Elizabeth Maslen (auth.)

By Elizabeth Maslen (auth.)

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Extra info for Political and Social Issues in British Women’s Fiction, 1928–1968

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71 However, Esk's view is deliberately presented as that of a man deadened by the effect of World War One, and does not dominate the novel's message, which won the admiration of Desmond Hawkins for the very qualities of writing which Jameson was promoting in her earlier article. In his Time & Tide review he wrote that it was: not so much a novel as a documentary. Its characters have no more importance individually than the many faces of a news-reel . . this is preeminently a book of public events and private conversations, the kind of journalism that only a writer of uncommon imaginative power could produce .

298), and she argues that `Since the century opened, we have seen pass into popular speech any number of phrases to express an almost religious belief, garbled and distorted from its true origins, in the supremacy and rightness of purely emotional activity' (p. 195); the language of metaphor has gained ground over the language of pragmatic precision. What we must recall so as to understand her apparent extremism in Civil Journey is the popular appeal of the non-rational in Nazi discourse of the time.

257); and urging that The peculiar property of a good novel . . is the series of shocks it gives to the reader's preconceptions ± preconceptions, usually unconscious, of how people behave and why, what is admirable and what reprehensible; it provides a configuration of special instances which serve as a test for our mental habits and show us the necessity for revising them. (p. 256) Another critical issue of the inter-war years was the long-standing debate over what mode of writing lends itself to women's particular concerns, an issue which sometimes seemed to mirror the split between `old' feminists (Winifred Holtby calls them Equalitarians) and the `new' feminists who, like Eleanor Rathbone, concerned themselves chiefly 30 British Women's Fiction 1928±1968 with women's problems.

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