The Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s
Class, Domesticity, and Bohemianism
By (author) Nicola Humble
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Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s by Nicola Humble
Book Description'Middlebrow' has always been a dirty word, used disparagingly since its coinage in the mid-1920s for the sort of literature thought to be too easy, insular and smug. Yet it was middlebrow fiction - largely written and read by women - that absolutely dominated the publishing market in the four decades from the 1920s to the 1950s. Neglected by subsequent critical fashion in favour of the work of literary elites, this literature has only recently begun to be reassessed. Aiming to rehabilitate the feminine middlebrow, Nicola Humble argues that the novels of writers such as Rosamund Lehmann, Elizabeth Taylor, Stella Gibbons, Nancy Mitford, and a host of others less well known, played a powerful role in establishing and consolidating, but also in resisting, new class and gender identities in this period of volatile change for both women and the middle classes. The work of over thirty novelists is covered, read alongside other discourses as diverse as cookery books, child-care manuals, and the reports of Mass Observation. Investigating the nature of the feminine middlebrow and its readers, the author considers its variously radical and conservative remakings of ideas of class, the home, the family and gender. Defining her period as running from the end of the first world war to the mid-1950s, she challenges the prevailing convention that sees the second world war as effecting a decisive ideological and cultural break, and offers a revision to the way we currently map the changing politics of femininity and the domestic in the twentieth century. The first work to insist on the centrality of the concept of the middlebrow in understanding the women's writing of this period, The Feminine Middlebrow uncovers a literature simultaneously snobbish and bohemian, daring and conventional, marked by an ideological flexibility that is the product of its paradoxical allegiance to both domesticity and a radical sophistication.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199269334
(216mm x 139mm x 16mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 12-Feb-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Nicola Humble
Cake, Hardback (April 2010)
What birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah or children's party would be complete without it? This book explores the origin of modern cake and its development from sweet bread to architectural flight of fancy, together with the meanings, legends and rituals attached to cake throughout the world.
Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, Paperback (June 2008)
This almost forgotten classic text of Victorian middle-class identity offers advice on fashion, child-care, animal husbandry, poisons, and the management of servants. Alternatively frugal and fashionable, this book highlights the concerns of the growing Victorian middle-class at a key moment in its history. Illustrations.
Culinary Pleasures, Paperback (November 2006)
Punctuated with recipes reflective of the period and evocative images, this book is a complete delight for foodies everywhere and constitutes a fascinating record of Britain's changing cultural attitudes. It provides Britain's culinary history which is journey expressed through the development of its cookbooks.
Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s, Hardback (November 2001)» View all books by Nicola Humble
This text reasseses the disparaged, but prolific, "middlebrow" feminine fiction from the 1920s to the 1950s. During her rehabilitation of the genre, the author argues that such authors helped to create, consolidate, and resist new class and gender identities in this period of change.
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