Abstract

Conscientious objectors to the First World War in novels and short stories by women are remarkably uniform in having spiritual insight and authority associated with Christ. Self-sacrificing and spiritually enlightened, they are not only Christ-like but also are often represented as homosexuals, pacificists with “the soul of a woman in the body of a man.” This article takes a different approach to women’s pacifist propaganda novels published during WW I than found in most of the scholarship. It brings new insights to Theodora Wilson Wilson, Rose Allatini, and Rose Macaulay by drawing on the concept of “crosswriting,” a strategy that transposes the lives of silenced or closeted lesbians into narratives about gay men. These women writers feeling newly invisible in the wake the war use crosswriting to reinsert themselves into the political struggle and to challenge conventional thinking about masculinity and bravery. In so doing, women (cross)wrote their own counter-narrative to the propagandistic national narrative scripted daily in the popular press, preserving their hope that gender roles might evolve and that there might still be a place for them as soldiers in the fight for future sexual emancipation. [189 words]

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 536-550
Launched on MUSE
2015-05-29
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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