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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

Barbara Comyns and New Directions in Women’s Writing

Barbara Comyns and New Directions in Women’s Writing

(p.197) Chapter Eleven Barbara Comyns and New Directions in Women’s Writing
British Women's Writing, 1930 to 1960

Nick Turner

Liverpool University Press

Focussing on Barbara Comyns’ first three novels, published between 1947 and 1956, Nick Turner asserts the originality of an undeservedly neglected writer. Comyns anticipates the female gothic and the Second Wave feminist impulse through her oppressed and vulnerable female characters. The essay suggests Comyns’ writing is innovative and challenging in three ways: firstly, for the way her depiction of domestic space, settings and movement, coupled with the notions of marriage, motherhood and family life, contests the status quo; secondly, for the manner in which the novels place the animal world in close proximity to the human world; and thirdly, for the nature of her comedy - black, surreal, anarchic. Demonstrating how Comyns at times engages with impressionist and surrealist art permits a consideration of her writing in the context of a so far minor tradition in British women’s literature and art, exemplified by Leonora Carrington.

Keywords:   Barbara Comyns, domestic space, female gothic, animals, black comedy, surrealist, impressionist

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