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Fiction of Hilda Vaughan (1892-1985): negotiating the boundaries of Welsh identity.

Thomas, Lucy 2008. Fiction of Hilda Vaughan (1892-1985): negotiating the boundaries of Welsh identity. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

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Abstract

Hilda Vaughan was a successful writer from the 1920s to the 1950s whose novels, short stories and plays, largely depicting the Welsh countryside, found international renown. Married to the celebrated author and playwright, Charles Morgan, she moved in illustrious literary circles both in London and in Wales. The second half of the twentieth century saw her writing fall into critical neglect, in part due to Vaughan's elevated social class, which distanced her work from that of many of her Welsh contemporaries. Vaughan inhabits a complex ideological position: she was a Welsh writer, writing in English, who lived for the majority of her life in London. She wrote novels that depicted the lives of working-class agricultural communities, though she was herself descended from the class of small-landowners. Much of her work is set in her beloved Radnorshire/Breconshire birthplace and this area close to the Welsh/English border, with its dual cultural influences, informs much of her writing. This thesis examines the negotiation and renegotiation of identity in Vaughan's work, with particular emphasis on the construction of nation, the depiction of gender and the effect of social class in her narratives. Chapters one to four of the thesis explore Vaughan's texts as they engage with contemporary issues, such as the scientific ideas of Social Darwinism and anthropology at the beginning of the twentieth century, the expansion of mass Anglo-American culture during this period and its effect on Wales, the emerging roles for women at this time, and the First and Second World wars and their destabilising influence on Welsh and British identities. Chapters five to seven examine Vaughan's depiction of the landscape, folklore and language of Wales as her work reforges connections with an 'estranged' Wales, rebuilding and reinforcing a sense of Welsh identity in the novels.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages > PB1001 Celtic languages and literature
ISBN: 9781303215032
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2014 16:08
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/54879

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