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The idea of Africa in Winifred Holtby's Mandoa, Mandoa!

Ewins, KA 2011, 'The idea of Africa in Winifred Holtby's Mandoa, Mandoa!' , The Review of English Studies .

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This article examines how Winifred Holtby’s writing was shaped by discourses on Africa and suggests that these coloured her writing more vividly than the feminism for which she is better known. I argue that she was deeply interested in the intellectual debates surrounding the League of Nations Union in the late 1920s. In particular, she explored the idea of ‘benign imperialism’ that so interested Leonard Woolf, and developed a socialist critique of imperialism that was rooted in the economic theories of African-American historian W. E. B. Du Bois. By paying attention to the influence of Du Bois on Holtby’s African novel Mandoa, Mandoa! A Comedy of Irrelevance (1933), the article connects her journalism and propaganda for black workers’ rights to her fictional writing. It concludes by contrasting Mandoa, Mandoa! with Evelyn Waugh’s oddly similar Black Mischief (1932) to show how their reception histories appear to account for the comparative neglect of the African story in Holtby scholarship.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Memory, Text and Place
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences > Centre for English Literature and Language
Journal or Publication Title: The Review of English Studies
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1471-6968
Depositing User: Dr Kristin Ewins
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2011 12:39
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2013 17:17

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