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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Women writers and the law of the father: race and gender in the fiction of Olive Schreiner, Pauline Smith, and Sarah Gertrude Millin
Author:Clayton, Cherry
Year:1990
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Volume:7
Pages:99-117
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:women
literature
About persons:Sarah Gertrude Liebson Millin (1889-1968)ISNI
Olive Emilie Albertina Schreiner (1855-1920)
Pauline Urmson Smith (1882-1959)
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131759085310101
Abstract:This article considers, comparatively, some of the complexities of three white South African women writers: Olive Schreiner, Pauline Smith, and Sarah Gertrude Millin. It concerns the business of identity formation in fiction, the stresses and opportunities operating in the psychological arena of white South African womanhood, especially when such women attempt to enter what they perceive as the male profession of authorship, and the ways in which their fiction attempts to heal the damages caused by such a sense of transgression. On the basis of textual analysis, the author discusses key concepts such as transgression and healing, safety and danger, and the family and the State. Her conclusion is that it is only when women write out of the recesses of their own fantasies and their own contradictions as women (as Schreiner and Smith did), that their fictions create an enduring connection between outcasts of different kinds. By creating heroines whose very innocence forces them into positions of illegitimacy, they question the whole religious and social order, including the racial exclusivity of that order. They show that the law was the law of white men. Millin, however, driven by her own fears behind the bulwarks of the law and denying the force and complexity of her own womanhood, never effected the deep connections between gender and race protest which Smith and Schreiner did forge. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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