This book is the first collection on the British author Rose Macaulay (1881-1958). The essays establish connections in her work between modernism and the middlebrow, show Macaulay’s attentiveness to reformulating contemporary depictions of gender in her fiction, and explore how her writing transcended and celebrated the characteristics of genre, reflecting Macaulay’s responses to modernity. The book’s focus moves from the interiorized self and the psyche’s relations with the body, to gender identity, to the role of women in society, followed by how women, and Macaulay, use language in their strategies for generic self-expression, and the environment in which Macaulay herself and her characters lived and worked. Macaulay was a particularly modern writer, embracing technology enthusiastically, and the evidence of her treatment of gender and genre reflect Macaulay’s responses to modernism, the historical novel, ruins and the relationships of history and structure, ageing, and the narrative of travel. By presenting a wide range of approaches, this book shows how Macaulay’s fiction is integral to modern British literature, by its aesthetic concerns, its technical experimentation, her concern for the autonomy of the individual, and for the financial and professional independence of the modern woman. There are manifold connections shown between her writing and contemporary theology, popular culture, the newspaper industry, pacifist thinking, feminist rage, the literature of sophistication, the condition of ‘inclusionary’ cosmopolitanism, and a haunted post-war understanding of ruin in life and history. This rich and interdisciplinary combination will set a new agenda for international scholarship on Macaulay’s works, and reformulate contemporary ideas about gender and genre in twentieth-century British literature.

chapter 1|22 pages


part I|32 pages

The body and the mind

chapter 2|14 pages

Hyperaesthesia and futile rage

Gender, anxiety and protest in Non-Combatants and Others

chapter 3|16 pages

The dangerous ages of Rose Macaulay

part II|32 pages

Public and private gender identity

chapter 4|18 pages

‘Imprisoned in a cage of print’

Rose Macaulay, journalism and gender

chapter 5|12 pages

‘Mentally neutral’

An improbable tale of gender in Geneva

part III|50 pages

Women in society

chapter 6|16 pages

‘Thought is everything’

Women’s work in Rose Macaulay’s First World War novels

chapter 8|19 pages

Constructing a public persona

Rose Macaulay’s non-fiction

part IV|37 pages

Genre in language

chapter 9|22 pages

‘Ghosts of words’

Gendering history, language and pleasure in They Were Defeated (1932)

chapter 10|13 pages

The Towers of Trebizond

Language and the joys and paradoxes of the modern world

part V|146 pages

Landscapes in genre

chapter 11|15 pages

A catastrophic imagination

Rose Macaulay and the cosmopolitan Pleasure of Ruins

chapter 12|21 pages

Rose Macaulay’s ‘Turkey book’

The Towers of Trebizond as ironic travelogue