latchkey header
header text

Latchkey Home Book Reviews Essays Conference News Featured New Women
New Women: Who's Who GalleryThe Whine Cellar
Teaching Resources Bibliography
Contact us


Vol. V1I (Winter 2015/16)

The Latchkey comes of age...

Notice something different about our web address?
The Latchkey can now be found at We feel this new site reflects the journal's success in establishing its own identity, and look forward to producing bigger and better issues dedicated to exploring the figure of the New Woman.


Dear Readers,

The articles that we feature in this edition of The Latchkey speak to an area of research of particular interest to our journal: the global New Woman. While the term “New Woman” originated in England, the cultural phenomenon extended beyond Britain and one of the aims of this publication has always been the desire to explore its presence and influence in other countries. In this issue, we present two original articles that deal with the Canadian New Woman and the German Neue Frau.

Sarah Galletly’s article, “‘Like iron and whisky’: Nursing and Marriage in Fin de Siècle English Canadian Fiction” is an interesting study of the figure of the New Woman in Canadian Nursing novels. Arguing that the depiction of the New Woman in Canadian literature is complicated by Imperialism, Galletly notes its appearance quite early in the development of New Woman literature and draws on Jessie Kerr Lawson’s Dr. Bruno’s Wife (1893) and Grant Allen’s Hilda Wade (1899) for closer analysis. She concludes that “Canadian nursing novels offer us unique insight into the tensions between political and economic emancipation and the duties of motherhood in this period,” and notes the contradictions between competing maternalist and feminist discourses with regard to the emergent figure of the nurse.

Exploring the German New Woman, Jennifer Lynn’s article “Imagining the Neue Frau: The Modern Woman in the Weimar Republic Illustrated Press” demonstrates the complex nature of the concept of the New Woman and its continued impact in the years after World War I.  Lynn focuses on the figure of the female clerical worker, a “lightening rod” for political commentary about women in the German workplace.  Analysing the contradictory symbolism and implications in the Neue Frau image, Lynn explores its significance for the “new consumer-driven Weimar mass culture.”  Rich examples from the period’s illustrated magazines, advertisements, and popular film show its wide-spread popularity and the reasons why groups like the Social Democratic Party and the Nazi Party adapted the notion of a modern, independent, German woman for their own social and political agenda.

From the many new books published recently, our book reviews editor, Kirsty Bunting, has selected several that will appeal to those interested in the New Woman as literary and cultural figure. In this issue, our book reviews section includes a review by Carol Senf of a new edition recovering Elizabeth Robins’s 1907 The Convert, which is usefully supplemented with contextual information on Robins’s role in the suffragette movement.

Donna S. Parsons reviews Sarah Parker’s The Lesbian Muse and Poetic Identity, 1889-1930. Parker’s book takes as its subject the role of muse and the challenge, but also the possibilities, s/he presents for female, and specifically lesbian, writers, as well as the interconnections with the figures of Sappho and the Virgin Mary. Looking at writers such as Michael Field, Olive Custance and Amy Lovell, Parsons asserts that Parker’s book provides a foundation for studies in this area.

In her review of Gillian Sutherland’s In Search of the New Woman: Middle-Class Women and Work in Britain, 1870-1914 Elizabeth D. Macaluso finds careful historical research that seeks to question the notion that middle-class women’s lives were radically changed by new opportunities in education and employment. While arguing that Sutherland does not engage sufficiently with the work of New Woman critics such as Ann Heilmann and Sally Ledger, Macaluso nonetheless notes the book’s meticulous historical detail and personal histories.

Laura Chilcoat  reviews Kirby-Jane Hallum’s Aestheticism and the Marriage Market in Victorian Popular Fiction. In this book, Hallum examines novels by Rhoda Broughton, George Meredith, Ouida, Marie Corelli and George du Maurier in order to analyse the shifts in Aesthetic discourse across the last third of the nineteenth-century. Chilcoat is not entirely convinced that Hallum clearly distinguishes the commodification, of women in Aestheticism from their earlier forms of commodification but nevertheless finds this book a valuable and fascinating study.

Sharon Bickle reviews a film she has been waiting for throughout 2015—and finds that high expectations do not always provide the best context for an enjoyable cinema experience.

Our featured New Woman in this issue’s Who’s Who page is someone that few of our readers will have heard of: Ménie Muriel Dowie. Anne-Sophie Leluan-Pinker’s short biography of this journalist, travel-writer, poet and novelist highlights once again the large number of intrepid and interesting women whose lives have been neglected by mainstream nineteenth-century scholarship.

Finally, we would like to recognise the hard work and support of our webmaster and publisher Steven Halliwell and The Rivendale Press, who makes this journal possible.

Many thanks to all our contributors for their patience. We will be putting out a call for papers early in 2016.

The Latchkey continues to solicit essays, book reviews, and brief biographical sketches of New Women writers and cultural figures throughout the year.  We particularly encourage Early Career Researchers and Postgraduates to contribute their work to the journal.  We are also happy to announce your conferences, calls for papers, and publications of interest free of charge. Feel free to browse our website and submission guidelines, and contact us at if you are interested in sending in an item for any of our sections.

With best wishes,
Sharon Bickle and Joellen Masters, Co-Editors
Kirsty Bunting, Book Reviews Editor

Table of Contents:


  • Sarah Galletly, “‘Like iron and whisky’: Nursing and Marriage in Fin de Siècle English Canadian Fiction.”
  • Jennifer Lynn, “Imagining the Neue Frau: The Modern Woman in Weimar Republic Illustrated Press.”

Book Reviews

  • The Convert. Brighton, UK: Twentieth Century Vox (Victorian Secrets), 2014. Reviewed by Carol Senf.
  • Aestheticism and the Marriage Market in Victorian Popular Fiction. London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015. Reviewed by Laura Chilcoat. 
  • In Search of the New Woman: Middle-Class Women and Work in Britain 1870-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2015. Reviewed by Elizabeth D. Macaluso.  
  • The Lesbian Muse and Poetic Identity. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2013. Reviewed by Donna S. Parsons.

Film Review

  • Suffragette (2015), dir. Sarah Gavron. Reviewed by Sharon Bickle.

Featured New Women

  • Ménie Muriel Dowie  by Anne-Sophie Leluan-Pinker.

Conference News