Recuperating and Revaluing: Edith Sitwell and Charlotte Mew



The history of women’s poetry in the early part of the twentieth century has been one of absence: absence from bookstores and library shelves and even from course lists. However, this situation is now changing and this chapter aims to contribute to that change by considering the work of Edith Sitwell and Charlotte Mew.


Forest Road Binary Opposition Poetic Language British Poetry Traditional Verse 
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  1. 1.
    See V. Glendinning, Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn among Lions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981) p. 3.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    E. Sitwell, ‘Colonel Faxtock’, in Collected Poems (London: Macmillan, 1965) p. 174; hereafter referred to as CP with poem titles and page references given in the text.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    E. Sitwell, quoted by R. H. Ross, The Georgian Revolt: Rise and Fall of a Poetic Ideal (London: Faber, 1965) p. 195.Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    V. Woolf, A Room of Ones Own (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967) P. 77.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    See Julia Kristeva, ‘The System and the Speaking Subject’, Times Literary Supplement, 12 October 1973, pp. 1249–50.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Geoffrey Thurley, The Ironic Harvest: English Poetry in the Twentieth Century (London: Edward Arnold, 1974) p. 136.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
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    See C. K. Stead, The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot (London: Hutchinson, 1986) p. 82.Google Scholar
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    C. Mew, ‘Fame’ in Collected Poems and Prose, ed. V. Warner (London: Virago, 1982) p. 3; hereafter referred to as CPP with poem titles and page references given in the text.Google Scholar
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    For an excellent account of this process, see S. Hall and B. Schwartz, ‘State and Society 1880–1930’, in Crises in the British State 1880–1930 (London: Hutchinson, 1983) pp. 7–33.Google Scholar
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    Difference is the process which enables language to signify. It is because words are different from one another, not because they correspond to objects in the world, that they have meaning. However, this meaning is never fully present in words because it always depends on other words which come before and after them. For this reason — given here in a brutally reductive form — Derrida argues that meaning is deferred. For a full account of this process, see J. Derrida, ‘Difference’, in J. Derrida, Margins of Philosophy, trans. A. Bass (New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1982) pp. 3–27.Google Scholar
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    See T. S. Eliot, ‘Hamlet’, in T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays (London: Faber and Faber, 1976) pp. 141–6, at p. 145.Google Scholar
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    See J. Lacan, Ecrits: A Selection, trans. A. Sheridan (London: Tavistock, 1977) especially ‘The Signification of the Phallus’, pp. 281–91 and ‘The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of the Desire in the Freudian Unconscious’, pp. 292–324.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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