Wallace, Diana 1964-
WALLACE, Diana 1964-
PERSONAL: Born 1964. Education: Lancaster University, B.A., M.A.; Loughborough University, Ph.D.
CAREER: University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, Wales, lecturer in English literature.
Sisters and Rivals in British Women's Fiction, 1914-1939, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: Diana Wallace combined her interests in literature and women's studies in Sisters and Rivals in British Women's Fiction, 1914-1939. During World War I and its aftermath, a "man shortage" and the subsequent importance of women's friendships caught the attention of a number of female novelists. In her study, Wallace focuses on five of these: May Sinclair, Rebecca West, Vera Brittain, Winifred Holtby, and Rosamond Lehmann. "Wallace revisits some themes and concepts central to feminist literary criticism—a female tradition, canonicity, identity, lesbianism, romance—with a fresh eye and from a new angle," according to Tess Cosslett in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. She covers both the historical context, at a time when women were taking on "men's roles" and blurring gender lines, as well as the influence of Freudian psychology, which raised anxieties about women's friendships as potentially lesbian and "unnatural." Among other subjects, she considers sibling rivalry, including the relationships between fiction and actual sisters. Similarly, she explores the complex friendships and rivalries of her five subjects, and their relationship to the wider literary world, including the more "canonical" writers. "One of her most interesting ideas is that the very 'subject of female homosociality' actively marks 'a text as not canonical,'" noted Tess Cosslett. "The discussions throughout are well-organized, cogent, and nondogmatic," concluded Choice reviewer J. E. Steiner.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, December, 2000, J. E. Steiner, review of Sisters and Rivals in British Women's Fiction,p. 711.
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, fall, 2001, Tess Cosslett, review of Sisters and Rivals in British Women's Fiction, pp. 297-298.*