Entering into History: The Woman Citizen and the Historical Novel, 1900–1929

  • Diana Wallace


A few women were writing historical novels in the early years of the twentieth century, including Baroness Orczy’s Scarlet Pimpernel adventures, the extravagant romances of Marjorie Bowen, and the rural novels of Sheila Kaye-Smith. However, it was after the First World War that British women, entering into history as enfranchised citizens for the first time, turned to the historical novel in substantial numbers and reshaped it into forms which expressed and answered their needs and desires.


Woman Writer Historical Setting English History Historical Fiction Male Protagonist 
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  1. 1.
    Criticism of Heyer includes Jane Aiken Hodge’s The Private World of Georgette Heyer (1984), and essays by A.S. Byatt (1991), Kathleen Bell (1995) and Carmen Callil (1996), and a collection of materials edited by Mary Fahnestock-Thomas (2001), while jay Dixon is working on a forthcoming critical study.Google Scholar
  2. 8.
    Two other early accounts, Jean Rhys’ Voyage In the Dark (1934).Google Scholar
  3. Rosamond Lehmann’s The Weather in the Streets (1936), both post-date Mitchison’s novel by over a decade.Google Scholar

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© Diana Wallace 2005

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  • Diana Wallace

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