• Book review: Elizabeth Bowen: Theory, Thought and Things, edited by Jessica Gildersleeve and Patricia Juliana Smith (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019).

      Darwood, Nicola; University of Bedfordshire (Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2020-09-30)
      Review of Elizabeth Bowen: Theory, Thought and Things, edited by Jessica Gildersleeve and Patricia Juliana Smith (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019) in The Elizabeth Bowen Review, volume 3
    • Elizabeth Bowen

      Darwood, Nicola (Swan River Press, 2020-10-31)
    • Fiction and 'the Woman Question' from 1830 to 1930

      Darwood, Nicola; Owens, W.R.; Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-08-01)
      This book is about how ‘The Woman Question’ was represented in works of fiction published between 1850 and 1930. The essays here offer a wide-ranging and original approach to the ways in which literature shaped perceptions of the roles and position of women in society. Debates over ‘The Woman Question’ encompassed not only the struggle for voting rights, but gender equality more widely. The book reaches beyond the usual canonical texts to focus on writers who have, in the main, attracted relatively little critical attention in recent years: Stella Benson, Kate Chopin, Marie Corelli, Dinah Mulock Craik, Clemence Dane, Arthur Conan Doyle, George Gissing, Ouida, and William Hale White (who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Mark Rutherford’). These writers dealt imaginatively with issues such as marriage, motherhood, sexual desire, adultery and suffrage, and they represented female characters who, in varying degrees and with mixed success, sought to defy the social, sexual and political constraints placed upon them. The collection as a whole demonstrates how fiction could contribute in striking and memorable ways to debates over gender equality—debates which continue to have relevance in the twenty-first century.
    • Flying dangerously: Elizabeth Bowen’s To the North

      Darwood, Nicola (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020-12-01)
      In To the North Bowen draws on notions of restlessness, change and destruction in her desire to write about geographical place and, in so doing, clearly demonstrates her understanding of the technological advances of the age. The novel foregrounds ideas of travel – by train, car and aeroplane – as Bowen explores the world through her young protagonist, Emmeline Summers. Both the pleasure (that is, perhaps, the sense of curiosity identified by Gindin) and the inherent danger of travel are recurrent themes in To the North, echoing the Modernist desire for speed, but Bowen’s use of this motif can also be read as a metaphor for the destruction of the innocent individual in an increasingly corrupt and disconnected society where it can be more convenient to speak to others by means of a ‘speaking-tube’ (To the North 69) rather than communicating in person. This essay explores the notion of ‘flying dangerously’ in the novel, through Bowen’s representation of ‘airmindedness’ (TN 144), where travel proves to be dangerous (both morally and physically) and, ultimately, fatal on that final journey on the road ‘[t]o the North’. It focuses particularly on the role of Emmeline as a partner in the travel agency, an agency which ‘seemed to radiate speed’ (TN 144), and also provides a discussion which locates Emmeline’s work both in terms of the travel industry of the 1930s and her position as a female partner in an expanding business.
    • ‘A grand Christmas pantomime': Nancy Spain's Cinderella Goes to the Morgue

      Darwood, Nicola (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-01)
      Exploring Nancy Spain’s appropriation of the fairy tale of Cinderella and its pantomime form, this essay traces both the antecedents of pantomime and the growing popularity of Cinderella as a pantomime; it considers the comedy that has its roots in the commedia dell’arte and French ‘night pieces’ and discusses how Spain draws on this tradition to recreate the world of pantomime in Cinderella Goes to the Morgue.
    • Interwar women's comic fiction: 'have women a sense of humour?'

      Darwood, Nicola; Turner, Nick (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-02-01)
      This collection of essays examines the work of five intermodernist writers. Some were established authors before the First World War and others continued to write after the Second World War, but this book focuses particularly on their writing between 1918 and 1939. Stella Benson, Bradda Field, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Stella Gibbons and Winifred Watson had much in common: they all wrote novels full of comic moments, which often challenged the cultural politics of the interwar period. Drawing on the literary and critical contexts of each novel, the essays here discuss the use of comic structures that enabled the authors to critique the dominant patriarchal structures of their time, and offer an alternative, sometimes subversive, view of the world in which their characters reside. This book contributes to the growing scholarly interest in interwar fiction, focusing principally on novelists who have fallen out of public view. It widens our understanding both of the authors and of the continuing, highly topical debate about interwar women novelists.
    • Introduction

      Darwood, Nicola; Turner, Nick (The Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2018-06-22)
      An introduction to the first volume of The Elizabeth Bowen Review (2018)
    • Introduction

      Darwood, Nicola; Turner, Nick (Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2020-09-30)
      Introduction to volume 3 of The Elizabeth Bowen Review
    • Introduction

      Darwood, Nicola; Turner, Nick (Elizabeth Bowen Society, 2019-09-02)
      Introduction to volume 2 of The Elizabeth Bowen Review - September 2018
    • Introduction to Fiction and 'The Woman Question' from 1850 to 1930

      Darwood, Nicola; Owens, W.R.; Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-08-01)
      The various aspects of ‘the Woman Question’ in the later nineteenth century, and into the twentieth century—education, suffrage, financial and emotional independence, marriage and motherhood—are all explored and debated in the chapters making up this collection. In bringing together this collection of essays, we have decided to focus attention not on famous writers or works, but on fiction written by authors who have attracted relatively little critical interest in recent years. Writers discussed include Stella Benson; Marie Corelli; Kate Chopin; Dinah Mulock Craik; Clemence Dane; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; George Gissing; Ouida and William Hale White (who wrote under the pseudonym ‘Mark Rutherford’). While no longer be as well-known as when they were publishing their novels, many of them were extremely popular with the reading public of their time, and some were compared by critics to writers who are now more often in the forefront of Victorian studies. In providing critical accounts of some key works by these writers, we hope that this collection of essays significantly extends our understanding of how fiction can be used to represent female characters who, in varying degrees and with mixed success, sought to defy the social, sexual and political constraints placed upon them. The short stories, novellas and novels considered in this volume demonstrate how fiction contributed in striking and memorable ways to debates over ‘the Woman Question’ and gender equality—debates that continue to have relevance in the twenty-first century.
    • Introduction to Retelling Cinderella: Cultural and Creative Transformations

      Darwood, Nicola; Weedon, Alexis (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-12-01)
      Introduction to the essays in the volume which reflect on material and cultural legacy of the tale of Cinderella and how it remains active and relevant in many different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. Each essay is introduced to show how the retelling illustrates a continuing attraction in the duality of the story. The uplifting message of Cinderella still sells an increasingly problematic conformity to traditional womanhood by persuading you to buy comfort, aspire to be a domestic goddess or reaffirm the myth of a ‘happy ever after’. But it’s also evident that she can also be the symbol for suffrage, for equality and empowerment. Her story will continue to be reused, reappropriated, and refashioned in a way that continues to highlight changing societal mores and ideologies: always fascinating, for ever changing.
    • Laughter and dying: Stella Benson's Hope against hope and other stories, and Tobit transplanted

      Darwood, Nicola (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-01-29)
      The novels and short stories of Stella Benson (1982-1933) cover a wide range of issues including suffrage, the morality of war and the rights of women through a mixture of realism, fantasy and satire.  Drawing on a range of twentieth and twenty first century theoretical approaches relating to humour and satire this essay considers Benson’s use of humour and satire in her collection of short stories Hope Against Hope and Other Stories (1931) and Tobit Transplanted (1931). Throughout both texts, Benson explores human frailties, inviting the reader to view her characters with an ironic detachment.  This essay argues that this use of comedy highlights the tension between humour and subject matter, and provides an insight into both her life and 1930s society.
    • The making of a suffragette: Stella Benson and I Pose (1915)

      Darwood, Nicola (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-07-03)
      Drawing extensively on Benson’s unpublished diaries and correspondence, this essay irst considers her engagement with the campaign for votes for women, in particular, her work with the Women Writers’ Suffrage League, and the influence of her aunt, the novelist Mary Cholmondeley, in that engagement. Placing Benson’s first novel within the context of other suffragette literature of the period, the essay then focuses on the portrayal of the suffragette movement in I Pose, a novel in which the protagonist rehearses arguments about equality and women’s suffrage
    • Retelling Cinderella: cultural and creative transformations

      Darwood, Nicola; Weedon, Alexis; University of Bedfordshire (Cambridge Scholar, 2020-12-01)
      Cinderella’s transformation from a lowly, overlooked servant into a princess who attracts everyone’s gaze has become a powerful trope within many cultures. Inspired by the Cinderella archive of books, objet and collectables at the University of Bedfordshire, the essays in this collection demonstrate how the story remains active in many different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. It explores the social arenas of dating apps, prom nights, as well as contemporary issues about women’s roles in the home, and gender identity. Cinderella’s cultural translation is seen through the contributors’ international perspectives: from Irish folk lore to the Columbian Cenicienta costeña (Cinderella of the coast) and Spanish literary history. Its transdisciplinarity ranges from fashion in Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm’s publications to a comparison of Cinderella and Galatea on film, and essays on British authors Nancy Spain, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Frances Hodgson Burnett.
    • Review of The Concept of the Book: The Production, Progression and Dissemination of Information: edited by Cynthia Johnston, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 2019, 146 pp., £25.00, ISBN: 9780992725747,

      Darwood, Nicola (Taylor and Francis, 2019-12-13)
      Review of The Concept of the Book: The Production, Progression and Dissemination of Information edited by Cynthia Johnston, Institute of English Studies, University of London, 2019, 146 pp., £25.00, ISBN: 9780992725747
    • Stella Benson: a life of reading, writing and publishing

      Darwood, Nicola (2016-07-07)
      Stella Benson – feminist, diarist, novelist and travel writer – published her first novel, I Pose, in 1915.  Her last book, a collection of short stories, was published posthumously in 1936.  Although her diaries might suggest some reservations about the reception of her earlier novels, in a letter to Marie Belloc Lowndes, Benson’s husband James O’Gorman Anderson said of her work: ‘Stella was quite happy about her writing, was sure of herself there, and had no thought of not being sufficiently appreciated.’  Others shared that opinion; for example, her 1932 novel Tobit Transplanted (titled The Far-Away Bride in America) won the Femina-Vie Heureuse Prize and the silver medal of the Royal Society of Literature. Benson’s writing was informed by her reading; she was an avid reader throughout her life and talked at length in her diaries about books that she enjoyed.  She often read a book in a day and it is evident from her diaries that she was always keen to read contemporary, Modernist and avant-garde poets and authors such Sturge Moore, Dorothy Richardson and Ford Maddox Ford (reading, for example, The Good Soldier in just one day on 3rd January 1918).  Her diaries, for the most part unpublished, provide a rich source of material, detailing both her reading and her writing.  Drawing extensively on those diaries, this paper discusses the connections between Benson’s reading, her writing and the subsequent publication of her early novels. It will explore her relationship with her publishers and will also, as a postscript, consider the role of the recent republication of her fiction by Michael Walmer in a possible reclamation and re-examination of Benson’s work in the twenty first century. 
    • ‘The violent destruction of solid things’: Elizabeth Bowen’s wartime short stories

      Darwood, Nicola (2016-07-05)
      Elizabeth Bowen’s introduction to the American edition of The Demon Lover and Other Stories (1944) explores the feeling of ‘lucid abnormality’felt by many during the Second World War; in this collection of short stories, Bowen offers a portrayal of London life when ‘[t]he violent destruction of solid things, the explosion of the illusion that prestige, power and permanence attach to bulk and weight, left all of us, equally, heady and disembodied. This paper focuses on three specific stories from the collection; these stories – ‘The Inherited Clock’ (where time is literally stopped), ‘The Demon Lover’ and ‘Happy Autumn Fields’ – demonstrate Bowen’s own fascination with temporal discombobulations, depicting in the latter two stories the ‘destruction of solid things’ where time is no longer fixed and where ghosts from the past displace time in order to appear in the present.  Drawing on these stories, this paper discusses Benson’s use of temporal disturbances in her wartime Gothic stories to explore the fears of many in London who did not know ‘who the dead were’ and for whom ‘the destruction of solid things’ leads to a ‘rising tide of hallucination' for those struggling to live in a world torn apart by war.
    • ‘[W]hat a small gift it was’ : Stella Benson and I Pose (1915)

      Darwood, Nicola (2017-07-07)
      Highlighting my own pedagogical approach to undergraduate and postgraduate research in which archival work, historical enquiry and close textual analysis are given equal weight, this paper draws extensively on Benson’s unpublished diaries and correspondence, exploring both Benson’s own engagement with the campaign for votes for women and her portrayal of that campaign in I Pose (1915) in which the protagonist spends her life  ‘exploring the adoption of new poses in a world where the old stereotypes no longer work’.