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Robyn Hyde: Heroine or heretic? Revising the influence of Robyn Hyde on national awareness and identity in mid 20th century New Zealand.

Kinnear, Susan 2019. Robyn Hyde: Heroine or heretic? Revising the influence of Robyn Hyde on national awareness and identity in mid 20th century New Zealand. Presented at: International Association for Media and History Conference, Newcastle, UK, 16-18 July 2019.

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Abstract

In our current age of #MeToo, its hard to tell the story of journalist and writer Robin Hyde, aka Iris Wilkinson, without becoming emotional. Hyde’s story is a tale of incredible bravery and enormous contribution to New Zealand during the long, decolonising moment of the 20th century. And yet it ends in tragedy. As New Zealand transitioned from colony to nation in an increasingly threatening international sphere, the task of inculcating a sense of imagined community fell heavily on the shoulders of its writers, eg John Mulgan, Denis Glover and Iris Wilkinson. But while Glover was lauded for launching the new “masculinist” identity of midcentury New Zealand, Wilkinson was marginalised as belonging to the “Menstrual School” of writing. While Mulgan’s dispatches from worn torn Europe would become fundamental to national self-imagining, Hyde’s reports from the Japanese front would be dismissed as “.… a rather embarrassing record of dangerous living and overstretched ambition.” Beaten by Japanese soldiers and harried by critics of her ‘feminine’ writing, Hyde lived out her final months in exiled poverty in the UK, complaining she had been bullied out of New Zealand by her male peers before taking an overdose of Benzedrine in 1939. This paper seeks to reposition her work as central to the development of New Zealand’s media environment. It argues her marginalisation was due to a government funded narrative that lauded exclusively masculine endeavour as New Zealand struggled into existence as an independent nation.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 11:00
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/125650

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