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Haunted Modernity in the Uncanny Stories of May Sinclair, Eleanor Scott and Violet Hunt

  • Victoria MargreeEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

In this final chapter I wish to explore developments in the women’s ghost story in the first decades of the twentieth century, and in particular, its relationship with both its Victorian forebears and with emerging literary modernism. Julia Briggs claimed in Night Visitors that the English ghost story had entered into decline in the period after 1918, with writers developing ‘inhibitions’ about addressing themselves to the ‘serious’ subjects that the nineteenth-century ghost story had dealt with and substituting for this a decadent preoccupation with demonstrating mere technical skill and innovation (1977, 23). More recently, however, Paul March-Russell, responding to Briggs’ claim in his work on May Sinclair, has argued that on the contrary the ghost story was ‘in transition, becoming a seedbed for that other rich and strange phenomenon known as Modernism’ (2006, 21). March-Russell’s contention accords with a growing body of work that sees the origins of literary modernism as existing partly in aspects of Victorian supernaturalism: in the spiritualist movement (Kontou 2009), in the period’s Gothic revival (Smith and Wallace 2001) and in its ghost fiction. Recent studies by David Seed (2001), Andrew Smith (2010), Claire Drewery (2011), Luke Thurston (2012) and others have explored short supernatural fictions by Sinclair, Virginia Woolf and Elizabeth Bowen in this light, testifying to the ways in which renewed attention to women’s short fiction can reveal surprising connections between forms of writing considered disparate according to established forms of literary classification and historiography.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BrightonBrightonUK

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