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The First World WarLiterature, Culture, Modernity$
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Santanu Das and Kate McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266267

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266267.001.0001

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Encountering War, Encountering Others: Enid Bagnold and Mary Borden

Encountering War, Encountering Others: Enid Bagnold and Mary Borden

Chapter:
(p.223) 11 Encountering War, Encountering Others: Enid Bagnold and Mary Borden
Source:
The First World War
Author(s):

Claire Buck

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266267.003.0011

This essay examines the literary and cultural trope of the colonial encounter as it appears in the work of First World War women writers. It focuses on British modernist Enid Bagnold and American modernist Mary Borden, comparing their representation of women war workers’ encounters with soldiers and labourers from the colonial world. The essay argues that Bagnold’s memoir Diary Without Dates (1918) and her novel The Happy Foreigner (1920) with Borden’s poem ‘The Hill’ are quite unusual for the visibility they give such encounters. Rather than reveal moments of identification and empathy across marginalized categories of gendered and racial otherness, these encounters import strangeness, discomfort and alterity into the texts. The essay concludes that Bagnold and Borden put at the centre of the First World War literary canon the uneven experiences of modernity that characterized the war’s displacements and disruptions.

Keywords:   First World War, Enid Bagnold, Mary Borden, colonial encounter, otherness, alterity

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