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Modernism, Feminism and the Culture of Boredom
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Bored women populate many of the most celebrated works of British modernist literature. Whether in popular offerings such as Robert Hitchens's The Garden of Allah, the esteemed middlebrow novels of May Sinclair or H. G. Wells, or now-canonized works such as Virginia Woolf's The Voyage Out, women's boredom frequently serves as narrative impetus, antagonist and climax. In this book, Allison Pease explains how the changing meaning of boredom reshapes our understanding of modernist narrative techniques, feminism's struggle to define women as individuals and male modernists' preoccupation with female sexuality. To this end, Pease characterizes boredom as an important category of critique against the constraints of women's lives, arguing that such critique surfaces in modernist fiction in an undeniably gendered way. Engaging with a wide variety of well- and lesser-known modernist writers, Pease's study will appeal especially to researchers and graduates in modernist studies and British literature.


'Allison Pease’s book is a valuable contribution to the study of the modernist movement. Her joint literary and cultural studies approach allows her to couple history and the study of some of the major texts of modernism.'

Alice Braun - Université Paris-Ouest-Nanterre-la Défense

‘Pease is a compelling writer and meticulous critic. She makes boredom out to be, in certain instances, a feminist critique of women’s enforced social passivity; at other times, a literary device that asserts feminine will; and finally, in Woolf’s bleak vision, an invitation to take a philosophical voyage into the inhuman … Modernism, Feminism, and the Culture of Boredom is a well-written, important contribution to literary studies of affect in the works of modernist women.’

Ria Banerjee Source: Journal of Modern Literature

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  • Chapter 5 - Boredom and Individualism in Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out
    pp 100-119


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