Date of Completion
Women Soldiers; World War I; War Memoirs; Women's War Literature; Serial Memoirs
Margaret R. Higonnet
Margaret S. Breen
Field of Study
Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
“Heroine of One Thousand Faces: Memoirs by Four Women Soldiers in the Great War and Postwar Period” is a comparative project that contributes to ongoing conversations within First World War feminist literary scholarship. My study fills in a research gap concerning autobiographies by women soldiers. It explores the autobiographical writings of four women soldiers who came from different nationalities and spoke different languages. Each of their cultures carried different traditions of women warriors, and each woman came from a different class situation, around the globe. Maria Botchkareva, a semi-literate peasant, spoke Russian; Flora Sandes, native to Yorkshire, was a cosmopolitan British woman of Irish descent, who knew French and German and learnt Serbian; Sophie Nowosiełska, an upper-class Polish woman who grew up under Austrian occupation and who, aside from Polish and German, spoke several languages, including Ukrainian and Romanian and some English; Xie Bingying, a prolific woman writer from China and later Taiwan, wrote in Chinese. This dissertation attempts to unveil the multiple faces that these war “she-heroes” presented in their own memoirs, and to consider them as a response to Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of a masculine hero’s journey in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The four soldiers enlisted in response to the call of mobilization from the military and offered their war memoirs to propagate their patriotism. At the same time, the serialization of their war accounts and the publication histories of their autobiographical self-adaptations indicate that their autobiographies are more than propaganda. Their complex narrative structures, combining verbal with visual features, dramatize the female soldiers’ roles as performers of gender in the theater of war.
Hong, Chenwen, "Heroine of One Thousand Faces: Memoirs by Four Women Soldiers in the Great War and Postwar Period" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations. 2041.