Submission Title

The New Woman and the New Man as Androgynous in The Story of an African Farm

Presenter Information

Katie Polacheck, Gonzaga University

Session Number

SS9

Location

Weyerhaeuser 305

Abstract Number

SS9-c

Abstract

Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm is often noted as “the first New Woman novel” for its female protagonist’s adventuring outside the domestic sphere, but it redefines masculinity just as much as it redefines femininity due to the way that the two are understood in conjunction (Richardson 114). Schreiner does more than redefine the two specific genders: she strives to unravel the cultural understanding of gender as binary and static. In order to do so, she blends traits traditionally masculine and feminine in the three nontraditional characters of Lyndall, Waldo, and Gregory. Schreiner herself, in her 1911 Woman and Labour calls this remodeling “a great movement of the sexes towards each other.” In this paper, I will examine the ways in which these three characters perform and mix gender as well as their relationships in order to understand Schreiner’s contribution to the New Woman movement with this novel.

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Apr 23rd, 3:15 PM Apr 23rd, 4:45 PM

The New Woman and the New Man as Androgynous in The Story of an African Farm

Weyerhaeuser 305

Olive Schreiner’s The Story of an African Farm is often noted as “the first New Woman novel” for its female protagonist’s adventuring outside the domestic sphere, but it redefines masculinity just as much as it redefines femininity due to the way that the two are understood in conjunction (Richardson 114). Schreiner does more than redefine the two specific genders: she strives to unravel the cultural understanding of gender as binary and static. In order to do so, she blends traits traditionally masculine and feminine in the three nontraditional characters of Lyndall, Waldo, and Gregory. Schreiner herself, in her 1911 Woman and Labour calls this remodeling “a great movement of the sexes towards each other.” In this paper, I will examine the ways in which these three characters perform and mix gender as well as their relationships in order to understand Schreiner’s contribution to the New Woman movement with this novel.