In the Introduction to this book I posed a series of questions which have woven throughout the chapters, with shifts in emphasis upon each of these questions at different moments in my own narrative of feminism and women’s short story writing. The first of these questions was how do first-, second- and third-wave feminism inform and influence women’s short story writing and, subsequently, how are these differing political moments represented within women’s short story narratives? An interesting avenue into reflecting on this question comes through reading Helen’s Simpson’s short story ‘The Festival of the Immortals’ (2010). Featuring the narrator, Viv Armstrong, and her school friend Phyllis Goodwin, who meet for the first time in fifty years at a book festival, the story explores generational relations and raises questions about what it means to be a woman across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Historical boundaries are diminished as the presence of Daniel Defoe, Charlotte Brontë and Virginia Woolf (all of whom are immortal in this tale) is perceived as a normal occurrence. Instead, it is the women’s personal histories that become the significant focus of the story as they reminisce about school days and their life trajectories. Notably, it is the figure of Woolf who is responsible for first bringing Phyllis and Viv together: ‘”The first time I saw you, we were in the canteen,” said Phyllis. “You were reading ...
Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.