Women and the “War Machine” in the Desert Romances of E. M. Hull and Rosita Forbes



Regan, Lisa
(2016) Women and the “War Machine” in the Desert Romances of E. M. Hull and Rosita Forbes. Women's Writing, 24 (1). 109 - 1222.

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Abstract

E.M. Hull’s bestseller The Sheik (1919) became a transatlantic phenomenon in 1921, inspiring a proliferation of the desert romance genre in the immediate postwar period. But as its retiring author was to admit, it was written to simply relieve tension while she waited at home with her husband away contributing to the war effort. This article considers to what extent we might read the desert romance as a mode of war writing, responding both to women’s sense of being outsiders to their nation during wartime and to the glorification of war in the Middle East through T.E. Lawrence’s part in the Arab revolt. And it explores this specifically by understanding the desert as the site for what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari call the ‘war machine’—a force often associated with nomadic tribes that lies beyond the nation state, contesting both its boundaries and ideologies. Looking at Hull alongside another popular, though less well-known, desert writer, Rosita Forbes, this article examines how the desert romance genre engages with questions of national affiliation and women’s role in national ideology and nation prestige during conflict.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2017 08:21
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 11:49
DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2016.1233773
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3005992