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Agnes Owens’s strong fighting women, or the insurrection of small, invisible lives

Abstract : As a working-class Scottish woman, Agnes Owens was triply alienated from traditional forms of authority in British literature. At the time she started writing, however, working-class urban novels were gradually coming to be seen as a trademark of ‘authentic’ Scottish literature, which somehow turned some of her disadvantages into assets. Yet this also meant that being a woman proved even more of a difficulty since these novels were quintessentially male. After considering her position towards a gender-oriented conception of literature, this paper will explore how the victimization of women in her fiction functions as a paradigm of vulnerability and how her relentless depiction of disempowerment becomes both an aesthetic and an ethical choice. When read in isolation, her short stories and novellas are stories of defeat yet, once they are read together and allowed to resonate with each other, they depict the insurrection of small, invisible lives and engage our response-ability as readers.
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Contributor : Benjamine Toussaint <>
Submitted on : Saturday, February 9, 2019 - 11:09:41 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 2, 2020 - 10:02:02 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02013059, version 1


Benjamine Toussaint. Agnes Owens’s strong fighting women, or the insurrection of small, invisible lives. Presses Universitaires de Besançon. Women and Scotland: Literature, Culture, Politics, Pittin-Hedon, Marie-Odile (ed), In press. ⟨hal-02013059⟩



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