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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Edith Holden: an extraordinary lady? The vexed debate about the diary of a nobody

Edwards, S.M. (2005) Edith Holden: an extraordinary lady? The vexed debate about the diary of a nobody. Life Writing, 2 (1). pp. 41-66. ISSN 1448-4528

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Abstract

Edith Holden's Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (1906, published posthumously 1977) is one of the bestselling books in British publishing history.Yet critical reactions to this work have puzzled over both its canonical status and, in the light of the internationally successful merchandising industry that the diary has spawned, Holden's own status as a public figure. Is she a representative 'ordinary' woman or a more familiar type of celebrity, the 'exceptional' woman? In this exploration of the difficulty of categorising Holden and her diary, I consider the binary nature of much Western criticism and recent critiques in feminist work. I argue that the Holden 'phenomenon' unwittingly engages with such critiques and unsettles traditional configurations of gender, class and liberal ideology. Holden represents an ascendancy of the 'middlebrow', and I consider the varying implications of this model within popular and high culture during the 1970s and 1980s.