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Contemporary Feminism and Women's Short Stories$
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Emma Young

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474427739

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474427739.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021



(p.142) Conclusion
Contemporary Feminism and Women's Short Stories

Emma Young

Edinburgh University Press

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 ...

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