CFP for a Special Edition of Women’s Writing

Women’s Writings of World War I

Emma Liggins and Elizabeth Nolan, Manchester Metropolitan University

Feminist scholarship has already demonstrated that the experience of the trench soldier should not dominate our understandings of the First World War, recognising that women were involved in and affected by the conflict, and that significant numbers of them responded in writing. The centenary of the outbreak of the conflict provides an appropriate vantage point from which to reassess the complexity and diversity of women’s literary engagement with the war. Women’s wartime narratives are many and varied, authored not only by professional writers such as May Sinclair, Rebecca West, Edith Wharton and Vera Brittain, but also by lesser-known figures and private individuals. Women writers often occupied or focussed on the position of outsider in what is widely regarded as the ‘masculine’ business of conflict. War is the ultimate gendering activity: women are identified as non-combatant to men’s combatant, they are civilians not soldiers, associated with the home not the front. Simultaneously the extraordinary circumstance of worldwide conflict facilitates women’s entry into new spheres of experience.

The journal Women’s Writing invites papers for a special issue dedicated to the exploration of the ways women, particularly lesser-known writers, negotiate this outsider position to intervene in the recording of war. Questions for consideration might include: In what ways do the writings interrogate or reinforce traditional gender roles? Can traditional female literary forms accommodate the experience of war or do new models evolve? To what extent do women appropriate and re-work masculine forms? How does the female witness to war negotiate trauma in order to record her experience? How significant are national contexts to the woman’s war narrative?

We welcome contributions on war-related writings by British and American women from 1914 -1930. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Auto/biography (including diaries, journals, letters)
  • Fiction
  • Journalism and the popular press
  • Feminism and the suffrage movement
  • Pacifism
  • Patriotism
  • The home front and the frontline
  • Trauma and witnessing
  • War-work and women’s entry into the public sphere (munitions workers, nurses, women’s services, charity workers)
  • National contexts (British and American)
  • Gender roles
  • Sexuality
  • Family
  • War widows

Please submit articles for consideration between 4,000-7000 words to Emma Liggins (e.liggins@mmu.ac.uk) or Elizabeth Nolan (e.nolan@mmu.ac.uk), by August 31st, 2015.

Contributors should follow the journal’s house style details of which are to be found on the Women’s Writing web site http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/0999082.asp) This is the new MLA. Do note that instead of footnotes, we use end-notes with NO bibliography. All bibliographical information is included in the end-notes i.e. place of publication, publisher and date of publication in brackets on first citation of a book.