Conclusion: The Playwright as Woman of Letters

  • Katherine Newey

Abstract

In 1908, Elizabeth Robins used the language of collective political action to declare war on the ‘Exceptional Woman’ for the sake of all women’s progress, rather as Virginia Woolf later wrote about the need to murder the Angel of the House to enable women writers to work freely. In this concluding chapter, I want to look at the careers of some women who worked outside the framework of the ‘Exceptional Woman’ or ‘exceptionality’ as it was constructed earlier in the century: writers of the second or third rank (if we’re counting this way) who included playwriting as a normal part of their ‘portfolio careers’ as professional writers, or as Susan Croft titled her bibliography She Also Wrote Plays.1 Florence Bell, Florence Marryat, and Lucy Clifford were all successful playwrights, whose reputations rested largely on other work, and in this way are representative of many other women in the literary marketplace at the end of the century. Apart from Florence Bell, wife of industrialist Hugh Bell, these women made their livings of necessity by their writing. They were all well-connected, educated, middle- and upper-middle class — indeed Marryat was at various times quite a wealthy woman through her work — and all were vitally interested in the theatre, both as another avenue for income and professional recognition, but also for its own sake.

Keywords

Income Expense Arena Nash Editing 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Susan Croft, She Also Wrote Plays: An International Guide to Women Playwrights from the 10th to the 21s Century (London: Faber and Faber, 2001).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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Copyright information

© Katherine Newey 2005

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  • Katherine Newey

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