The Feminine Middlebrow Novel, 1920s to 1950s: Class, Domesticity, and Bohemianism
'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. 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. 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. -- Contracubierta.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Readers and Reading
The ReFormation of MiddleClass
Imagining the Home
The Eccentric Family
A Crisis of Gender?
Other editions - View all
allowed appear aristocratic attitudes authors become bohemian Brontės called changes characters clearly Club concerns contemporary conventional cook culture daughter desire detective discussed domestic eccentric emotional England English established fact fantasy feelings female feminine middlebrow fiction figure gender girls Harmondsworth highbrow husband idea identity imagined increasing intellectual interest later less Light literary literature lives London look lower Margaret marriage married middle class middlebrow novel Miss mother nature never notable novelists offered particular Penguin period person pleasure political popular presented Press Provincial Lady reader reading relationship represented respectable response revealed Second seems seen sense servants sexual significant sister social Society sort status stories suggest taste things tion turned upper values Virago wife woman women writers young