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UBC Theses and Dissertations

We gave our glorious laddies : Canadian women's war poetry, 1915-1920 Campbell, Rebecca

Abstract

Women's home-front poetry of the Canadian Great War (1914-1918) betrays a conflicted sense of Canadian identity, stressing as it does both the familial continuities of the Commonwealth and the new sovereignty celebrated by patriots who saw the war as an opportunity to assert Canadian independence. At the same time it traces a conflicted sense of female duty in wartime, as women become both the symbolic avatars of their nation and the producers of national. This thesis addresses the context of women's popular poetry during the Great War, with specific reference to the propagandistic project of the Canadian War Records Office and, more specifically, the poetry of Katherine Hale (1874 - 1956) and Mrs. A. Durie (1856 - 1933). Their work, and the work of other poets, valorise female sacrifice in war-time, and voice male soldiers on the battlefield in a kind of ventriloquism. Both of these strategies allow disenfranchised, colonial women to write back to the war, to both challenge and contribute to Canada as a national project.

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