The Female Fantastic
Gendering the Supernatural in the 1890s and 1920s
For women-identified writers of both eras, the fantastic offered double vision. Not only did the genre offer strategic cover for challenging the status quo, but also a heuristic mechanism for teasing out the gendered psyche’s links to creative, personal, and erotic agency. These dynamic presentations of female and gender-queer subjectivity, are linked in intriguing and complex matrices to key moments in gender(ed) history.
This volume contains essays from international scholars covering a wide range of topics, including werewolves, mummies, fairies, demons, time travel, ghosts, haunted spaces and objects, race, gender, queerness, monstrosity, madness, incest, empire, medicine, and science. By interrogating two non-consecutive decades, we seek to uncover the inter-relationships among fantastic literature, feminism, and modern identity and culture. Indeed, while this book considers the relationship between the 1890s and 1920s, it is more an examination of women’s modernism in light of gendered literary production during the fin-de-siècle than the reverse.
Table of Contents
Toward a Female Fantastic Rebecca D. Soares, Lizzie Harris McCormick, and Jennifer Mitchell Section 1: 1. Rubbish, Treasure, Litter, Tatters: Fantastic Objects in Context Jill Galvan 2. Framing the Female Narrative: Subversive Ghost Storytelling in Works by Margaret Oliphant, Vernon Lee, and Edith Nesbit Anne DeLong 3. Monstrous Femininity and Objectified Masculinity in Daphne du Maurier’s "The Doll" Donna Mitchell 4. Uncanny Mediums: Haunted Radio, Supernaturally Intuitive Women, and Agatha Christie’s "Wireless" Julia Panko 5. Buyer Beware: Haunted Objects in the Supernatural Tales of Margery Lawrence Melissa Edmundson Section 2: Profoundly and Irresolvably Political: Fantastic Spaces Luke Thurston 1. Female Desire, Colonial Ireland, and the "limits of the possible" in E. Œ. Somerville and Martin Ross’s The Silver Fox Anne Jamison 2. The Haunting House in Elizabeth Bowen’s "The Shadowy Third" Céline Magot 3. Faerie Fruit and the Queer Codes of Feminist High Fantasy: Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees Jean Mills Section 3: The Fantastic and the Modern Female Experience: Fantastic People Scott Rogers 1. Marie Corelli’s Ziska and Fantastic Feminism Mary Clai Jones 2. The Fantastic and the Woman Question in Edith Nesbit’s Male Gothic Stories Andrew Hock Soon Ng 3. Fantastic Transformations: Queer Desires and "Uncanny Time" in Work by Radclyffe Hall and Virginia Woolf Jennifer Mitchell 4. "To find my real friends I have to travel a long way": Queer Time Travel in Katharine Burdekin’s Speculative Fiction Elizabeth English Section 4: Invitation to Dissidence: Fantastic Creatures Jessica DeCoux 1. Rewriting the Romantic Satan: The Sorrows and Cynicism of Marie Corelli Colleen Morrissey 2. Beauty is the Beast: Shapeshifting, Suffrage, and Sexuality in Clemence Housman’s The Were-wolf and Aino Kallas’s The Wolf’s Bride Lizzie Harris McCormick 3. The Doctor Treats the Ten-Breasted Monster: Medicine, the Fantastic Body, and Ideological Abuse in Djuna Barnes’s Ryder Kate Schnur
Lizzie Harris McCormick holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is an Associate Professor of English at Suffolk County Community College/ SUNY. She explores women’s fantastic literary narratives of artistic creation during the late-nineteenth century, especially where they challenged turn-of-the-century British psychological theories of creative imagination and gender. Her scholarship appears in Latchkey, Henry James e-Journal, Nineteenth Century Gender Studies, and The Fantastic of the Fin de Siecle.
Jennifer Mitchell earned her Ph.D. in English Literature from The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Currently an Assistant Professor of English at Union College in Schenectady, New York, she is working on a manuscript about the critical intersection between sexology, modernism, and masochism. Her scholarship has appeared in The Journal of Bisexuality, Bookbird, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, The Virginia Woolf Miscellany, and various edited collections and she has an article forthcoming in The D.H. Lawrence Review.
Rebecca Soares earned her Ph.D. in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently an Honors Faculty Fellow at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University. She is working on a manuscript that examines the nineteenth-century popular practice of spiritualism, transatlantic literature and communication, and print culture. Her work has appeared in Victorian Poetry and Victorian Periodical Review and is forthcoming in Women’s Writing.