Womens Place In The Twentieth Century Fiction English Literature Essay

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It is widely believed that feminism did not exist in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Francisca de Haan asserts that the biographical portraits not only show that feminist existed here, but also that they were widespread and diverse and included Romanian princesses, Serbian philosophers and peasants, Slovakian novelists, Hungarian Christian social workers and activists of the Catholic women's movement, Austrian factory workers, Bulgarian feminist scientists and socialist feminists Russian radicals, prominent writers and philosophers of the Ottoman era, a Slovenian literary feminist and a Czech avant-garde painter (1). In other words, women and some men from all varieties of life struggled to change and constitute a concept of feminist activity.

Loutfi puts forward that supporters of women's and feminist causes in those regions constructed a small part of the population in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The history of women's movements and feminisms is largely unwritten and the most recent publications deal with the contemporary history of women's movements and feminisms after the twentieth century (3). The gained sources are to expend field of international and comparative historical research of women's movements as well as contributing in a more general sense to building women's and gender history as an academic field.

Silvija Borovnik asserts that in the context of fundamental social changes taking place everywhere in Europe in the nineteenth century (urbanization, industrialization, literacy and education programs, technological changes or modernization, women and men were moved and inspired by religious beliefs, the struggle for national liberation, feminism to reject women's secondary status, women's exception from the areas of culture, higher education, science and politics, traditions showed as unchangeable as patriarchy (48). In order to understand why some women and men preferred the change and struggled for social justice including gender equality, it is necessary to determine their personalities and personal histories in a broad view of social, economic, cultural and political context.

The feminist movement is the key point to connect 'public' and 'private' spheres. Furthermore, Francisce de Haan explains that one of the reasons why feminism is often seen as a 'Western' development is that feminists have conveyed this view (4). In order to produce such inclinations, women's movements and feminisms always have to be contextualized and historically have taken forms. Haan continues to emphasize the distinction between 'women's movement' and 'feminism'. 'Women's movement' aims to improve status and position and has not aimed for women's equality with men and challenge patriarchal structures that 'feminism' does (13).

All countries reveal male domination despite the differences and common oppressive gender principles in the historical period. Women were subordinated to the first sex and this was reflected in many specialities of their status. For instance, women's devalued motherhood, moral responsibility for family life, exposure to violence, high levels of illiteracy and high mortality rates are all consequences of being regarded as the 'second sex'.

In view of two ideologies, nationalism and socialism, the woman question is involved in their studies (Haan 6). These two ideologies deal with men and women together to defend the ideas which many of the people admit as a common cause. 'The woman question has been created within a wider perspective of national question and social question. Therefore, they arouse the issues about increasing opportunities and rights for women in the areas of education, employment and the civil law. Socialist and nationalist movement gave rise to intellectuals of both sexes who criticized the subordinated women under despotism, capitalism and patriarchy.

In the light of these, the lives and works of Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield and a variety of Slovenian writers depict debates and questions regarding gender policies. Feminist and women's activities are of radical changes in the lives of both urban and rural populations and raise questions about dichotomies such as the first/second class, patriarchal/feminine society and freedom/restrictions of women.

I.II. Women's Position in Twentieth Century Slovenian Society and Fiction

The nineteenth century is a period which provides place for women writers as well as male ones. Therefore, Trieste is a key figure because of the fact that a woman's inclusion to

the paper "Edinost" (Unity) was published there. One can grasp twofold opinions: that the best Slovenian writers were inclined to ideas of women's liberation and that demands for a better grounded education for Slovenian women and also university education for women.

In each literature or period of the communities, it is a fact that the number of male writers was ample and there was a doubt whether it was true to give opportunities for women writers. In Slovenian society, the same demand takes place; that is, calling for equal pay and educational possibilities. As every conscious woman, the group of women writers were aware of the fact that a woman should have been paid the same wage for the same work as a man and they should have had the same rights for all levels of education and employment opportunities.

The turn of the century was a time when the demand for female release took the same side with the regular raising of Slovene speech instead of German and feeling among the clerisy. It is clear that the century was the period that presented a call to rise from the hopeless social conditions into which women, the rising working class and the most widespread class of peasant formers were not pressed. The influence of Catholic church with the overriding atmosphere created the demand for female freeing societies and links with similar societies in Europe that could be called a bold move. Dusa asserts that "it should have appeared in Trieste was no particular coincidence: the then main port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was experiencing its great flowering, with a colourful mix of Slovene and Italian inhabitants and the mass of merchants, officials, as well as the intelligentzia of all nations of the monarchy" (127).

The democratic atmosphere made a newspaper write openly that the role of women is deliberately forced into motherhood and housekeeping and that also a literary image, a woman of those times is only a "puppet without real will and without her own will" (127). By the help of this democracy, "Slovenka" turned to social themes from subjects of release. At this point, inviting other societies to the association that it invited Croats to contribute and openly displayed the ambition of becoming some kind of Yugoslav feminist journal. At the same time, they were opposed to condemnation owing to the reason that they published an article "Free love and marriage" which rejected marriage, the basis of Christian family life.

It is certain that the feminist movement and theory as well as changing the history of women's ideas was essential for the above facts to have appeared again. By the effect of other literary definitions and the role and importance of Trieste for Slovene publishing, "Slovenka" disappeared. Then again, school learning and media as well as literary discussions never ceased to go on having women's questions. Dusa states that when a reader handles with women's questions, they do not have to be too fundamental, or even regarded well but they need some additional effort of a reader (128).

It is asserted that there is an emptiness in semantic net through an old dictionary of Slovene words, especially for the classical masculinity. Its reason is that before the attempters interested in this side of semantic nets, there has been child- nation or woman-nation. Peter Handke, in his novel Die Wiederholung (The Repetition), searches in vain for expressions of military command and Dusa says they did not exist in Slovene until 1991. Owing to the lack of masculine aspects, Handke's open non-aggressiveness is attractive and there is something almost maternal in its mildness. Handke does not fail to give importance to the foundations of Sloveneness and declares that they rely on two missings: the sleeping father and the fugitive woman. He evaluates these missings as myths.

The first tells about a sleeping king in a mountain cavern, who will one day awaken and save his enslaved people and the other takes over a legend from the period of Moorish plundering throughout the Mediterranean, adapting it into the story of a wife and mother who left a weak husband and helpless child and went with a negro as a wetnurse to the Moorish queen and then desired to return. This second myth turned into not just a metaphor for the Slovene national character, but even an image of this nation. For instance, Lepa Vida (Beautiful Vida) has been worked into poetry, prose and drama for many times. She has been dealt with by men. Female authors do not refer to her fate, reversed into the national trauma. It is significant that this "female" nation is only female while it is being dealt with by men.

In Slovene Literature a woman are presented on the other side of the sea, not only beyond the reach of men, but also at a safe distance from which she appears as a threat. Dusa states that her dangerous closeness comes to an end and men leaves the place of life to his first and final woman, the mother figure and in the meantime, the Slovene literature has a strong female literary image (129).

One of the first great female writer and reformer, Zofka Kveder, who will be studied deeply in this work, comes out as the reason of aspiration in the writings of Ivan Cankar. Cankar is a Slovene writer whose short stories can be evaluated as realistic, at other times as symbolic in which the sacrifice of the wife- mother is praised. The mother figure's sensible and practical side have been taken over by school learning and literary ideology that "the maternal thesis destroys the author, buries him and hides interest in his other work" (Dusa 122). The myth of the mother which is praised by the other writers ideally linked the national trauma of the lack of masculinity and the persisting Catholic ideology.

At the beginning of the century and the start of the story of Slovene women's literature, the theme of the woman-vampire, whose erotic power corresponds with man's power and chooses death rather than traditional maternal role. In Eve by Zofka Kveder you can grasp the ancient myth of the Amazons. Its enterprising language is the result of the feminist language. Beyond the identity of a writer, Zofka Kveder came to the fore of Slovene women by her personality who leaded the demand for an equal position for women and chose to study in Switzerland. Kveder had an authentic woman's voice.

In the thirties of this century, it seemed clear that Slovene women's writing was powerful enough to be able to establish an autonomous publishing. For instance, publication of a book collection began in Ljubljana with the name of "Selected Works of Slovene Women Writers" and its editor, Marja Borsnik, is an important name in Slovene literary history of this century. Owing to her free language and authority of as it had been a scientist, she exerted a great deal for women's names to make them appear in literary history on an equal level of with men.

Fundamental lyricism appeared as a pouring way fort he women's confessions into poetic expression automatically and spontaneously. Dusa states that a structural weakness and superficiality of momentary outpourings comes along when one examine women's lyricism (135). He continues to stress that their expressions proceed in a repetition and this repetition can be a sign for a writing which reveals the satisfaction of suffering and the practice of a special erotic openness and delivery.

To make it clear, Lili Novy is represented as a model of this method owing to her poetic personality related to Catholic expressionism and it establishes her as the first honored poetess. The modernism of the sixties and seventies activated not only formal expression but also, with an intellectual side, made reflective poetic writing possible. One gets the meaning of that the lyrical spirit combines with reflection and artistic games.

In Slovene Literature, another genre that women dominated is 'trivial literature'. The only original form of Slovene trivia is called "evening story"- the expression derives from the book collection of "Slovene evening stories", with which one of the first Slovene book societies created and later extended the reading culture among the farming population (Dusa 131). The literary canon, created over the decades through this collection, is based on traditional peasant and Catholic values which are the main support in a farmer's life and the sacrifice of higher values for life on this land.

In this sacrifice, a woman has the major role of mother and wife, who patiently and passively carry out her major role in the marriage status. She turns out as a figure who fulfills her appointed destiny and finds herself among the critical points when she becomes an obstacle to the mechanism of marriage as a result of the poor choice of a rich farm heir.

The female authors took the control of the evening story from their entirely male predecessors in the decades after the econd World War. Besides, they expanded the traditional balance with themes by the help of the current moment: the hurt and complications that were developed in the background of the class layers and collapse of the traditional countryside, the departure of people to the industrial centres, secularization in all senses and urbanization of thought. The evening story did not desert its starting point that it means that it did not put aside the side of traditional values and in the focus of the story set the image of a sacrificing and sacrificed woman, which has also helped to sustain the interpretation of even literary criticism systems.

In addition to this productive insight of foreign trivia, these writers held a mass reading public and by the help of this, the notion of a circle of female writers of such writing was established. The woman writer of farm tales is today an independent literary category ( Dusa 131).

The more ambitious writers had bigger targets to be more urban-oriented. Mira Mihelic, one of the central personalities of Slovene literature of the time besides her having been the president of the Slovene PEN, wrote from the position of a traditional citizen who observes how the world of former values was falling into decay in her novels and short stories. The collapse of burgeois man and the destruction of all classical powers under communism are the causes of her unique ironical and even grotesque commentary as a sign of a woman's view of things.

The generation of the eighties found out that it could get clear inspiration from mass and superficial literary products and also utterance of this inspiration without any complex. When values came together, new movements occupied the scene with their ideologies and programmes and as a result of this, feminism was declared but taken over by the desire to reject recognised literature and called a feminist club after Ljuba Prenner, the author of believably the first Slovene detective novel in the thirties. The idea in favour of a minor author could be understood as well as having chosen the famous woman lawyer despite the habit of the mentioned lady that played the role of a man from dress to the speech by using the masculine language. It has been known in more prominent cultures.

It is clear that the end of the present century does not differ from the end of the last one and the statement of saying that in the Slovene case, times of modernization of values are exposed to adaptation that means women as a social group with special demands are reestablished and restored. In the terms of the literature, women's writing of the eighties and beginning of the nineties makes two detective stories attached by Slovene authoresses: Special Tenderness by Marjeta Novak and Behind the scenes of congress, or murder in territorial water by Maja Novak. In the works of these two writers, one can get the idea of a shift from the former women's genre literature to a more urban comprehension of the world. The same situation is appreciated in the works of Marinka Fritz-Kunc who has faith in the classical sentimentality of the family circle, with false love and the tragic issue of an aimless youth in drugs (Dusa 132).

In the end of the eighties, women's writing posed the concept of national art and reflected the militancy and unusual feeling of this space in this period before the exposition to the Balkan catastrophe. Filio's not home by Lela B. Njatin made her mark among writers of novels. Filio is set on an island on which the earth is an unachievable vision which supplies order with the construction of the ghettos of women and men. The regulation between them is based on a displacement for some undefined future. The big success conducted in the novel is the representation of order in passive women's speech.

A completely different kind of women has inspired the central icon of literary feminism. Alma Karlin (1889-1950) was the forerunner of the wave of interest and admiration. Her image evoked the idea of a stubborn and independent figure and she was also popular in the nineties by her contact with foreign cultures and lack of "Eurocentrism" (Dusa 132). To add her homosexual tendency towards women, her purpose was intellectual and wider community. It is a pity that despite knowledge of almost thirty languages and a pile of published books, she died forgotten in a poorhouse.

Of even greater importance, my theory is not that one can find, in Slovene literature, female authors who would convey a distinctive characteristic of national women's writing in the world. In the big picture, Alenka Puhar can be in the focus and the public has already awarded it ( Dusa 133). It does not probably figure such popular and wide acceptance as texts which deal with the tragicomic and fantastic sides of life. Indeed, with the specific view of life in the nineteenth century, it has great value for a key feminist view of the world.

Dusa takes a clear look at this fact that by stating this: "The vivi-section of the terrible position of a child, abandoned to a mother, who on the pretence of sacrifice and concern, passes on to the young being behaviorial patterns and distorts its personality, could easily find similar traumatic parallels" (133). As a reconciliation of women's writing, it is necessary to mention Jolka Milic who has drawn the attention to the inappropriate share of women in secondary presentations of Slovene literature: anthologies, critical approaches and translations.

The writer of The Veiled Landscape commonly assumes that the first presentation of Slovene women's writing in the English language falls together with the hundredth anniversary of the first newspaper for women's questions (134). The main state of uncertainty has not been resolved: whether the fact that a literary text has been written by a woman is enough to categorise it; whether women's literature exists in contrast to the more united and only valid "literature". Zdravko Dusa concludes that "I hope your hackles don't rise if the last word of this introductory text tells you that it has been written by - a man" (134).

Strikingly, readers face with a sudden unexpected event in reading that a book about Slovenian Women's Writing has been edited by a male. Nonetheless this situation, it is accurate that women and their efforts in Slovenian women's writing have been at least dealt with by a male writer. As Dusa indicates in his book "this 'female' nation is only female when it is being dealt with by men" (128), he proves his ideas by defending the developments of Slovenian women's writing through a man's perspective.