Unstable Subjectivities in British Post-War Experimental Women's Writing (USEWW): Harry Ransom Center Research Stay

Project Details


My postdoctoral project USEWW (2018-2021) examines the representation of human subjectivity in
the fiction of experimental British women novelists between 1945 and 1975. Aiming to help redress
the invisibility of post-war experimental women writers in the British canon, it counters overviews of
the period which either largely ignored experimental writing or, alternatively, posited B. S. Johnson
as Britain’s post-war ‘one-man literary avant-garde’. Focusing on the neglected writers Anna Kavan,
Brigid Brophy, Christine Brooke-Rose, Eva Figes and Ann Quin, USEWW enquires to what extent their
formally innovative novels can be interpreted as politically transgressive acts. As such, it puts
forward new feminist readings of their so-called ‘anti-realist’ fiction, proposing that their work
continued the modernist project to ‘look within’ in its exploration of fragmented selves and that this
focus on unstable subjectivities equally reflects on and challenges dominant cultural credos and
ideologies in post-war Britain. The specific funding I am applying for here will allow me to carry out
crucial archival research in the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Austin which holds a wealth
of material relating to these 5 authors. It will enable me to combine archival research with textual,
historical and theoretical analysis in order to create an overarching narrative which determines the
relationship between the formal innovations and political subversions at work in their fiction.
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/20


  • Literature
  • British Post-War

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Literatures in English


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