Taking sides: Power-play on the Welsh border in early twentieth-century women’s writing

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    According to psychoanalytic and sociological feminist theory, differences in the way the two sexes have traditionally been reared mean that females can accommodate hybridity and identify with two or more opposing power principles with greater ease than males. Freudian analysis would suggest that while a developing male has to break off his attachment to his mother and bond with his father, a female is left more free to oscillate between both genders. A number of literary texts have explored the notion of women’s greater reluctance to ‘take sides’, few more exhaustively, perhaps, than Margiad Evans’s Country Dance (1932), which suggests that sanity resides in being of the border, rather than of either of its sides, and that women are more likely than men to appreciate that fact and tolerate the tensions of the border condition. The representation of those tensions also features large in three further fictional texts located on the Welsh border, Dorothy Edwards’ short story ‘The Conquered’ (1927), Hilda Vaughan’s novel The Battle to the Weak (1925), and Violet Jacobs’ first novel The Sheep-Stealers (1902). In these texts too, it is the female rather than the male characters who are portrayed as having the resilience to maintain border identities. In this chapter, I propose to explore ideas concerning border power relations and their significance for gender identity by examining the representation of men and women in these fictions of the Welsh Marches.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGendering Border Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2010


    • gender studies
    • border studies
    • welsh writing in english
    • wales


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