"Fritillary Fever": Cultivating the self and gardening the world in the writing of Clara Coltman Vyvyan

Downing, N. (2013) "Fritillary Fever": Cultivating the self and gardening the world in the writing of Clara Coltman Vyvyan. In: Women in Transit through Literary Liminal Spaces. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK, pp. 166-179. ISBN 978-1137330468

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Abstract / Summary

This chapter is published within the context of book of essays that takes forward critical debates concerning women’s appropriations of private and public space by providing new readings of complex negotiations for traversing space in Anglo-American literature, written by or about women between the Victorian period and the Second World War. Whereas previous studies have tended to concentrate on a single aspect of women’s engagement with space, be it within the domestic, the urban or the natural world, this corpus of essays explores women’s transit through a multiplicity of spaces and its literary representation during a period that permanently changed gender relations. My contribution to the debate closes the book with an exploration of the gendered space of the post-Second World War English country house garden by examining the work of a little-known but prolific garden and travel writer, Clara Coltman Vyvyan. Although Vyvyan wrote extensively on gardening, Cornish landscape and European travel during the inter-war and post-war period, her work has received very little critical attention. This chapter addresses Vyvyan’s absence from critical accounts of women’s writing in this period, establishing the significance of her work in relation to other ‘conservative modernists’ such as her friend Daphne du Maurier. It provides both an original reading of the work of Vyvyan, and new insights into the contested space of the country house garden in literature. Challenging critical accounts that privilege the garden as a private and static arena, it shows how Vyvyan places herself in transit through the gendered spaces of garden and wilderness by negotiating male traditions of exploration, botany and writing.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: women's writing ; gardens in literature
ISBN: 978-1137330468
Subjects: Geography & Environment
Writing & Journalism > Literature
Depositing User: Niamh Downing
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2013 14:19
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2014 16:26
URI: http://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/21

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