1st Edition

A Space of Their Own Women, Writing and Place 1850-1950

Edited By Katie Baker, Naomi Walker Copyright 2023
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This collection explores how nineteenth and twentieth-century women writers incorporated the idea of ‘place’ into their writing. Whether writing from a specific location or focusing upon a particular geographical or imaginary place, women writers working between 1850 and 1950 valued ‘a space of their own’ in which to work. The period on which this collection focuses straddles two main areas of study, nineteenth century writing and early twentieth century/modernist writing, so it enables discussion of how ideas of space progressed alongside changes in styles of writing. It looks to the many ways women writers explored concepts of space and place and how they expressed these through their writings, for example how they interpreted both urban and rural landscapes and how they presented domestic spaces.

    A Space of Their Own will be of interest to those studying Victorian literature and modernist works as it covers a period of immense change for women’s rights in society. It is also not limited to just one type or definition of ‘space’. Therefore, it may also be of interest to academics outside of literature – for example, in gender studies, cultural geography, place writing and digital humanities.

    Introduction – Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Naomi Walker


    Part 1 – Women Writing the Domestic Space

    Chapter 1 – ‘It is home, and I can’t put its charm into words’ (Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South): Radically Extending Domesticity in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South

    Dr. Katie Baker

    Chapter 2 – ‘The Room I sit in’: Women’s Refashioning of the Drawing-Room in Fin-de-Siècle and Modernist Writing

    Dr. Emma Liggins

    Chapter 3 – ‘Fleece in the hedge’: Domesticity and Depiction among Women Writers of the Interwar Years

    Dr. Geraldine Perriam

    Part 2 – Women Writing the Rural Space

    Chapter 4 – Mountains, Therapy and the Peripatetic Writing Space: Elizabeth le Blond in France and Switzerland in the 1880s

    Dr. Kathryn Walchester

    Chapter 5 – Walking and Writing the Rural: Mary Webb and the Shropshire Landscape

    Dr. Naomi Walker

    Chapter 6 – Spangin’ and Stravaiging: Scottish Women Writers and the Nature of Rural Modernity

    Helena Duncan




    Part 3 – Women Writing the Public Space

    Chapter 7 – ‘There’s London!’: Spatial affects and urban environments in Ella Hepworth Dixon’s The Story of a Modern Woman

    Cigdem Talu

    Chapter 8 – Utopian spaces, public places: considering the perils and pleasures of crossing domestic thresholds in The Woman’s Side and The More I See of Men

    Dr. Louise McDonald

    Part 4 – Women Writing New Interpretations of Space

    Chapter 9 – ‘Solitude in any wide scene impressed her with an undefined feeling of immeasurable existence aloof from her’ (George Eliot, Daniel Deronda): Lyric Space in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing.

    Professor Josie Billington

    Chapter 10 – R. A. Kartini and the Many Faces of Colonial Female Subject: Domestic Cosmopolitanism in Colonial Indonesia

    Dr. Silvia Mayasari-Hoffert

    Chapter 11 – Spatial and Sensory Aesthetics in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928)

    Annie Strausa

    Conclusion – Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Naomi Walker


    Katie Baker was awarded a PhD in English Literature from the University of Chester in 2018. Her research focuses on female sexuality, domesticity and the 'businesswoman' in the work of nineteenth-century women writers. She has published on Elizabeth Gaskell and Margaret Oliphant and is currently an independent researcher.

    Naomi Walker is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Chester and an Associate Lecturer at the Open University. Her PhD research was based on the two Shropshire feminist writers, Mary Webb (1881–1927) and Mary Cholmondeley (1859–1925), and she used GIS (Geographical Information Systems) software to plot their lives and works within the Shropshire area.