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Extra resources for British Women Writers of World War II: Battlegrounds of their Own
She defined the core as a tradition which encourages war as the culminating act of courage, patriotism, and nobility. For Woolf, these abstractions, glorified in the rhetoric of manliness, were dangerous in what they reflected and effected. Because the romance of courage and patriotism was kept aloft by Britain's class and gender hierarchies, it ensured the mobilization of political and economic power that governed women's lives, indeed governed them so totally as to be equivalent to fascism. She concluded that fascism was endemic to any nation that 'shut out and shut up' those who could not be identified with the dominant and dominating male 'advance guard' (TG, p.
On the international scene, like so many other writers, she wants 'a United States of Europe', but as always, Sayers's writing is infused with a patriotism that places Britain at the helm of international reform (Begin, p. 51). To link reformist patriot Dorothy Sayers with socialist antinationalist Ethel Mannin except as political opponents challenges the tolerable boundaries of feminist literary history unless we include their equally powerful identifications with Christian ethos. This religious identification, moreover, while it leads these writers to different conclusions about this and all wars, also binds them to a universal vision of spiritual indomitability in the face of tyranny.
Women's depictions of these ambivalent relationships provide a distinctive cultural key to the social and literary contexts and concerns of women's wartime writing. Constantly facing rejection of their own social platforms, some writers recreated their experience in fictional Others who become victims of an oppressive politics of identification. Instead of expressing empathy for those who have also been subject to an ongoing history of persecution and marginality, this writing recapitulates and reinforces that history even as it pleas for the rescue of aliens and refugees.