Restriction lift date: 2023-05-30
Transnational women’s poetry of the two World Wars: Lola Ridge, Winifred Letts, H.D., Sheila Wingfield
University College Cork
This thesis traces symmetries in the poetic responses of four women poets across two continents to the two World Wars: Lola Ridge, Winifred Letts, H.D. and Sheila Wingfield. This thesis considers the representation of the events and experiences of the two world wars in the work of four women poets: Lola Ridge (1873-1941), Winifred Letts (1882-1972), H.D. (1886-1961) and Sheila Wingfield (1906-1992). Adopting a comparative and transnational approach, the thesis traces the relationships and “touching points” between the lives and wartime poetry of Ridge, Letts, H.D. and Wingfield (Stubbs and Haynes, 2017: 7). It examines the ways in which this quartet of women poets creates a literary space of mutual understanding and shared concern in their responses to the trauma and upheaval of a world at war. This study explores how, thematically and formally, Ridge, Letts, H.D. and Wingfield fuse, reject and champion innovation and tradition in their wartime poetry. Collectively, the four women poets considered in this thesis disrupt the binary schema which still underpins critical conceptions; that war and Modernism are antipathetic categories, that women writing of war is an irreconcilable conundrum, and that the poetry of the First and Second World Wars, including civilian poetries, are wholly discrete. The four writers discussed in this thesis raise analogous, sensitive and contentious issues in the lead up to and during the First and Second World Wars. Read comparatively, their writing reveals formal and thematic parallels which breach temporal, geographical, gendered and political borders. This thesis identifies and explores the “transnational imaginative energies and solidarities” apparent in the wartime writing of Ridge, Letts, H.D. and Wingfield (Ramazani, 2020: 23). Their consistent and shared perceptions of warfare tether the two World Wars together. These four women poets present alternative perspectives and complicate received paradigms of war poetry, highlighting subjects and figures long excluded from the canon. Ridge, Letts, H.D. and Wingfield demonstrate that women’s poetry is an integral part of the continuing and evolving narrative of a world at war.
Women's poetry , World wars , Transnational
Condon, G. 2021. Transnational women’s poetry of the two World Wars: Lola Ridge, Winifred Letts, H.D., Sheila Wingfield. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.