The uses of humour and parody in "Feminist Avant-Garde" periodical culture

Ferris, D., 2020. The uses of humour and parody in "Feminist Avant-Garde" periodical culture. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

Daisy Ferris 2021.pdf - Published version

Download (3MB) | Preview


This thesis examines the function of humour and parody in the work of five women: Ada Leverson (1862-1933), Beatrice Hastings (1879-1943), Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923), Cornelia Barns (1888- 1941), and Margaret Anderson (1886-1973). Its intention is to provide an insight into the prevalence of women’s humour within modernist periodicals, specifically within the periodical communities associated with 'Avant-Garde Feminism'. It argues that, collectively, these women seized upon the inherent doubleness of humour and parody to produce works which are variously uncertain, ambivalent and discomforting. Women's use of humour within modernism is an area which has been chronically neglected in modernist studies thus far. This study serves to fill a significant gap in scholarship: consolidating and expanding upon working definitions of avant-garde feminism, while at the same time also shedding light onto the hitherto neglected sphere of women's humour within modernism. Chapter One examines Ada Leverson's work for Punch magazine between 1893-1899, showing how parody enabled her to inhabit a space in which she was engaged with and yet separate from both high-art and mainstream spheres of print culture. Chapter Two looks at Beatrice Hastings’ approach towards female authorship in The New Age between August and December 1913, arguing that the ambivalence of parody provided her with the means to reject singular authorial perspective in her work. Chapter Three also addresses The New Age, this time exploring how Katherine Mansfield's contributions to the 'Pastiche' section between 1912 and 1917 achieve an ambivalent balancing of humour and discomfort. Chapter Four looks at the visual artist Cornelia Barns who worked for The Masses and The Liberator from 1913-1924, showing how humour provided a mask to disguise the subversive and often troubling content of her cartoons. Chapter Five then explores Margaret Anderson's editorship of The Little Review (1914-1929), reading her explosive editorship of the magazine through the lens of camp, and showing how the use of humour allowed her to draw upon the tactics of the mainstream media, whilst also maintaining a plausible facade of avant-garde separatism.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Ferris, D.
Date: October 2020
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 10 May 2021 14:44
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:03

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year