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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: 28 July 2021

The Ambivalence of Testimony in Elizabeth Bowen’s

The Ambivalence of Testimony in Elizabeth Bowen’s

The Heat of the Day (1948)

Chapter:
(p.109) Chapter Six The Ambivalence of Testimony in Elizabeth Bowen’s
Source:
British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960
Author(s):

Ana Ashraf

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789621822.003.0007

Ana Ashraf’s exploration of Bowen’s novel demonstrates how, in the post-war milieu, ambivalent narratives of testimony and witnessing challenged the ideology of war and the machinery of propaganda. The novel’s metafictional style emphasizes the self-reflexive nature of witness and testimony. Interweaving personal and political spheres in an experimental form that juxtaposes the classic romance plot and the traditional spy novel, The Heat of the Day offers a feminine view of the masculine world of intelligence. In its presentation of the conflict between love and patriotism, the novel’s treatment of treachery appears unstable and unusual. It also highlights the role of literary testimony in challenging the dominant narrative of war. Demonstrating the ‘intermodern’ preoccupation with political commitment during periods of war, the novel exemplifies an ‘interfeminist’ awareness of the notion of ‘women’s time’, the marginalisation of women’s experience of war and the binary division between fact and fiction.

Keywords:   Elizabeth Bowen, metafiction, testimony, romance, patriotism, spy novel, treachery

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