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'The ceasing from the sorrow of divided life: may Sinclair’s women, texts and contexts (1910-1923)

Martindale, Philippa (2003) 'The ceasing from the sorrow of divided life: may Sinclair’s women, texts and contexts (1910-1923). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis explores May Sinclair's female protagonists in her Modernist texts, 1910-1923. 1 look at how Sinclair's work bears witness to her scene of writing and offer an analysis that places Sinclair, most centrally, in a dialogue with contemporary literary, psychoanalytical, and cultural influences.1 draw upon a wealth of unpublished material, medical archives and journals, newspapers, propaganda, novels of fellow female writers, and other artefacts of the day. By appraising these works together, the critical distinction between Modernism and the topical issues of early twentieth century Britain is seen to dissolve, and Sinclair’s writing emerges as an important oeuvre for reading the life of the modem woman. Women’s fiction of the period typically searches for autonomy and agency. However, as 1 show, the desire for radical social change is problematic and often in conflict with the prescribed code of an idealised, fixed female identity. Through an exploration and development of her own concept of sublimation, Sinclair confronts these complex ideological structures in her engagement with the position of women in her fiction. She places her women in a variety of situations—from the tightly knit, domestic home to the unfettered, open terrain of wild landscapes—and analyses the forces that hold women back or set them free. In my study of Sinclair's Modernist texts, 1 argue that Sinclair urges for psychic freedom for women from their cramped, repressive conditions; this is achieved through sublimation.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2003
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 Jun 2012 15:20

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