This lively collection of essays showcases recent research into the impact of the conflict on British women during the First World War and since.
Looking outside of the familiar representations of wartime women as nurses, munitionettes, and land girls, it introduces the reader to lesser-known aspects of women’s war experience, including female composers’ musical responses to the war, changes in the culture of women’s mourning dress, and the complex relationships between war, motherhood, and politics. Written during the war’s centenary, the chapters also consider the gendered nature of war memory in Britain, exploring the emotional legacies of the conflict today, and the place of women’s wartime stories on the contemporary stage.
The collection brings together work by emerging and established scholars contributing to the shared project of rewriting British women’s history of the First World War. It is an essential text for anyone researching or studying this history. This book was originally published as a special issue of Women’s History Review.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Representing, Remembering and Rewriting Women’s Histories of the First World War
Maggie Andrews, Alison Fell, Lucy Noakes and June Purvis
2. The Carer, the Combatant and the Clandestine: images of women in the First World War in War Illustrated magazine
3. Suffragettes and the Scottish Press during the First World War
4. Antimilitarism, Citizenship and Motherhood: the formation and early years of the Women’s International League (WIL), 1915–1919
5. ‘Giddy Girls’, ‘Scandalous Statements’ and a ‘Burst Bubble’: the war babies panic of 1914–1915
6. ‘A Matter of Individual Opinion and Feeling’: The changing culture of mourning dress in the First World War
7. Gendered musical responses to First World War experiences
8. ‘My Husband is Interested in War Generally’: gender, family history and the emotional legacies of total war
9. What the Women Did: remembering or reducing women of the First World War on the contemporary British stage
Maggie Andrews is Professor of Cultural History at the University of Worcester, UK. Her research and publications explore domesticity and femininity in twentieth century Britain with a particular focus on the Home Front in both the First and Second World Wars, including The Home Front in Britain: Images, Myths and Forgotten Experiences since 1914 (edited with Janis Lomas, 2014).
Alison Fell is Professor of French Cultural History at the University of Leeds, UK. She has published widely on British and French women’s responses to, and experiences in, the First World War, including Women as Veterans in Britain and France after the First World War (2018).
Lucy Noakes is the Rab Butler Professor of Modern History at the University of Essex, UK. She researches and publishes in the fields of war, gender, memory, and national identity, with a particular interest in twentieth century Britain.
June Purvis is Professor Emerita of Women’s and Gender History at the University of Portsmouth, UK. She has published widely on women’s education in nineteenth century Britain, and especially on the suffragette movement in Edwardian Britain, including the acclaimed Emmeline Pankhurst: a biography (2002), and Christabel Pankhurst: a biography (2018).