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Female Heroism in First World War France: Representations and Lived Experiences

Read, Philippa (2016) Female Heroism in First World War France: Representations and Lived Experiences. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This study is an evaluation of female heroism as it was both represented and experienced in First World War France. In order to investigate representative ideas about women’s heroic wartime roles and acts, the first half of the thesis explores the ways in which different aspects of female heroism were presented in dominant, often patriarchal wartime discourses. The second half of the thesis provides the material for comparison, with an analysis of first-hand accounts by two women who were both presented as heroic in the First World War, but whose roles and social backgrounds differed considerably. As such, the two halves of the thesis enter into a ‘dialogue’ which ultimately helps us to garner a clear and nuanced understanding of the complex ways in which female heroism was defined and represented during and after the First World War. A study of heroism in First World War France has value because the concept of wartime courage and bravery was bound up with the notion of national fortitude and civic duty in a country which suffered under invasion and occupation. As such, a study of the characteristics of female heroism also relates to broader questions of French national identity in wartime. Equally, it relates to the ways in which gender discourses functioned and evolved under such circumstances. Finally, this study sheds light on the ways in which individual women engaged with these broader discourses in their own self-presentations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Women, France, First World War, Heroism
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds)
The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Languages Cultures and Societies (Leeds) > French (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.714278
Depositing User: Dr Philippa Read
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2017 15:42
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/17592

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