Martyrdom and masculinity: ideology and masculine identity in the work of Radclyffe Hall

Macnamara, Steven (2018) Martyrdom and masculinity: ideology and masculine identity in the work of Radclyffe Hall. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (3MB)


This thesis explores the depiction of masculinity by one of literature’s most famous female masculine writers, Radclyffe Hall. Chapters One and Two discuss two extremes in the reception of Hall’s work: one a successful poem, ‘The Blind Ploughman’ (1913); and the other, The Master of the House (1932), a novel that was a commercial and critical failure for Hall. Both ‘The Blind Ploughman’ and The Master of the House depict spiritual, sensitive working class men who are different. While these texts are often mentioned in Hall scholarship, they have rarely been discussed individually. Chapter One addresses the impact of ‘The Blind Ploughman’ and its success as poem/song through association with the war wounded and how this, in turn, influenced Hall’s depiction of damaged/different masculinity and its relationship to homosexuality. Chapter Two explores Hall’s engagement with themes that were also being explored by modernist writers, in particular D. H. Lawrence’s reimagining of the Christ story in his novella, ‘The Escaped Cock’ (1928); the chapter argues that The Master of the House uses Christianity to disguise the homoromantic subtext of the novel. In contrast, Chapter Three explores the more familiar topic of female masculinity in relation to Hall, but instead of focusing on male masculine identities, it presents evidence that Joan of Arc, one of history’s most famous crossdressing women, was a female masculine role model for Hall. The influence of Joan of Arc is present both in Hall’s understanding of her own female masculine identity and in the representation of her female characters. The aim of all three chapters in this thesis is to present a new way of viewing Hall and her work in order to demonstrate that she is more than just a writer of lesbian fiction.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Kore-Schröder, Leena
Harrison, Andrew
Davison, Sarah
Alexander, Neal
Keywords: Radclyffe Hall, D. H. Lawrence, Una Troubridge, Joan of Arc, female masculinity, 'The Blind Ploughman', 'The Well of Loneliness', 'The Escaped Cock', 'The Master of the House', 'Ghosts' Catholicism, Martyrdom, lesbianism, homosexuality, effeminacy
Subjects: P Language and literature > PR English literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 55425
Depositing User: Macnamara, Steven
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2018 14:30
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2019 08:30

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View