The Ideal Reader: Feminist Internationalism and the Counter-Public of Robin Hyde

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Presented by Joe Shaughnessy

Lectures, talks and seminars

English Research Seminar

15th Aug 2019 12:00pm to 15th Aug 2019 1:00pm

von Zedlitz, Room 802 (vZ802)

This paper positions Robin Hyde’s Wednesday’s Children in an intersection of various interwar political currents including transnational women’s movements, internationalism, and opposition to imperialism and fascism, using these radical political contexts to illuminate the utopian vision energising the novel.

Wednesday’s Children (1937)—Pākehā writer Robin Hyde’s third and most experimental novel—is etched into New Zealand’s literary historiography as an important feminist utopia. Yet Hyde’s feminism has not been integrated into recent explorations of her internationalist politics, which are largely treated as a separate moral commitment.

Taking a historicist approach, in this paper Joe Shaughnessy reconstructs the ‘global moment’ of June 1936 and position Wednesday’s Children in an intersection of various interwar political currents. These include transnational women’s movements in the Pacific region, the reckoning of liberal and socialist forms of internationalism, and opposition to imperialism, fascism, and ‘bourgeois nationalism’. By conceptualising Hyde’s novel as a holistic (if somewhat confused) allegory of radical politics in 1930s New Zealand, Joe hopes to provide a close reading that better illuminates the utopian vision energising the novel.

For more information contact: Dougal McNeill

Speaker Bios

Joe Shaughnessy is a doctoral student at Jesus College, University of Cambridge. His research concerns the literatures of South Africa, India, and New Zealand in the first half of the twentieth century, and explores the role of literary circulation in imagining post-imperial futures.