Wednesday 14th April, 1.15-2.30pm
Room 106, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, W1T 3UW
Nick Hubble (Brunel University)
‘Naomi Mitchison: From Intermodernism to Science Fiction (via Mass-Observation)’
From her 1920s novels, influenced by Lawrence but aimed at the audience of Wells, to her subsequent deployment of modernist techniques for political ends, Naomi Mitchison may be considered a key intermodern writer. Her literary output during the 1930s – The Corn King and the Spring Queen (1931), Beyond This Limit (1934; a feminist fantasy illustrated by Wyndham Lewis), We Have Been Warned (1935), The Moral Basis of Politics (1938) and The Blood of the Martyrs (1939) – is comparable with Orwell’s. Her relentless pursuit of the ‘just society’, free from gender-based and sexual repression, made her a controversial figure even in that controversial decade. And her close literary associates of that decade – including Auden, Aldous Huxley, Olaf Stapledon, Stevie Smith, Wyndham Lewis and Walter Greenwood – suggest different ways of thinking about literary networks and cultural history in general. She was also a friend and supporter of Tom Harrisson and Mass-Observation, for whom she kept a wartime diary. Nick Hubble’s paper analyses this intermodern work and investigates how it relates to Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962), a forerunner of the 1970s feminist utopian science fiction of writers such as Ursula Le Guin, Marge Piercy and Joanna Russ.
Free to all.
Tagged as feminism, Modernism, science fiction
The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture
University of Westminster Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies
32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW. United Kingdom.