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Flâneuse or fallen woman? Edwardian femininity and metropolitan space in heritage film

Edwards, Sarah (2008) Flâneuse or fallen woman? Edwardian femininity and metropolitan space in heritage film. Journal of Gender Studies, 17 (2). pp. 117-129. ISSN 0958-9236

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Abstract

This article examines Elaine Feinstein's 1984 television dramatisation of Edith Holden's The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady in light of debates about tensions between progressive narratives, and mise-en-scnes, in heritage film. I argue that evocations of an Edwardian pastoral idyll relate to late twentieth-century uncertainties about the nostalgic functions of Edwardian women for the 1980s. By analysing the representation of Holden's London years, I observe that tensions between narrative and spectacle produce two subject positions for Holden: flneuse and Victorian fallen woman. The gradual pre-eminence of the latter signals the limits of artistic and sexual autonomy for Edwardian women.