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Feminist resistance, the artist and "A room of one’s own"

Heilmann, Ann ORCID: 1995. Feminist resistance, the artist and "A room of one’s own". Women’s Writing 2 (3) , pp. 291-308. 10.1080/0969908950020306

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Late Victorian feminist writers anticipate Virginia Woolf by several decades when they link their protagonists’ quest for independence and artistic development to the notion of a private living and working space: a room of one's own. Locating their protagonists’ need for privacy and purposeful work within the context of marriage, these writers envisage a radically new script for heterosexual relations. True companionship must allow for either partner's separate space and individual development. Suppressing the New Woman's need for self‐expression leads to the disintegration of the relationship and may precipitate her descent into madness and death. Unlike the writers of an earlier period, who contained their characters’ rage by displacing it on to mad doubles locked away in attic rooms, fin‐de‐siècle feminists transform their heroines’ anger into creative energy by sending them on voyages of self‐discovery into womb‐like sanctuaries. Places of regeneration which are highly evocative of a female tradition now reclaimed, these rooms provide the space and inspiration necessary for moral and philosophical enquiry and, finally, artistic activity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 10:33

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