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British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960Between the Waves$
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Sue Kennedy and Jane Thomas

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789621822

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789621822.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 July 2021

‘The Lure of Pleasure’

‘The Lure of Pleasure’

Sex and the Married Girl in Marghanita Laski’s To Bed with Grand Music (1946)

(p.73) Chapter Four ‘The Lure of Pleasure’
British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960

Sue Kennedy

Liverpool University Press

Sue Kennedy considers how Marghanita Laski’s provocative novel To Bed with Grand Music addresses the fantasy of fulfillable desires through the story of a young, married woman taking advantage of everything available in the ‘lucid abnormality’ of London during World War Two. This interfeminist counter-narrative of the protagonist’s libidinal life and her failure to perform as a good mother and faithful wife deviates from the propaganda of the People’s War rendering Laski’s undermining of this ideal at a raw moment in the nation’s psyche contentious. The essay considers the representation of the actions of a young woman and questions whether she is deserving of admiration or censure for her refusal to conform to expectations of feminine conduct. It suggests that her progress is in many ways more eighteenth than mid-twentieth century in tone presenting a woman who begins by embracing her own pleasure but later engages in ‘infamous commerce’.

Keywords:   Marghanita Laski, People’s War, propaganda, female libido, desire, motherhood, pleasure, infamous commerce

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