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MOTHERS IN A MAN’S WORLD: MASCULINITY, MATERNITY, AND SCIENCE IN CHARLOTTE HALDANE’S INTERWAR FICTION

Hartley, Allegra (2018) MOTHERS IN A MAN’S WORLD: MASCULINITY, MATERNITY, AND SCIENCE IN CHARLOTTE HALDANE’S INTERWAR FICTION. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

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Abstract

Charlotte Haldane’s first novel, Man’s World, is the only one of her novels to have received any significant academic interest though it has still been overwhelmingly overlooked in favour of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, published five years later.

As has been argued by Susan Squier, there is significant value in reclaiming the female literary voice on science because it is through a literary engagement with the sciences that women have penned their experience and involvement in the discursively and institutionally modern. This thesis argues the importance of reading Haldane’s work as part of an interwar corpus that, when understood as a collection, reveals a pattern of gendered relationships that negotiate masculine and feminine identities in relation to science, institutional power, and patriarchal control. Haldane’s interwar fiction undermines hegemonic masculinity by placing two powerful styles of masculinity – the artist and the scientist – in competition in order to destabilise binary gender roles, therefore allowing the creation of a vocational form of motherhood without masculinizing it. In the power vacuum that Haldane’s destabalised gender narratives create, the figure of the ‘ideal’ mother, the vocational mother, is presented not just as a eugenic instrument but a genetic gatekeeper. She is an active and independent agent, an architect for the modern world.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
Depositing User: Rebecca Hill
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2018 12:32
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 15:31
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34724

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