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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Continuing to get out and about

This week there was a lovely book launch at the Artworkers' Guild in Queen Square of Carol Dyhouse's exciting new book, Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women (Zed Books):
Horror, scandal and moral panic! Obsession with the conduct of young women has permeated society for over a hundred years. Be it over flappers, beat girls, dolly birds or ladettes, public outrage at girls' perceived misbehaviour has been a mass-media staple with each changing generation.
 O so very true. It just goes round and around. A journalist was asking me about 50 Shades of Grey the other day, and my mind immediately went to a rather obvious, when you think about it, historical parallel, EM Hull's notorious The Sheik, with its sado-masochistic themes and very similar plot trajectory (now available free through the good offices of Project Gutenberg).

From girls to ordinary devoted mothers: yesterday evening to an excellent and very thought-provoking paper by Anne Karpf in the Psychoanalysis and History seminar series, 'Constructing and addressing "the Ordinary Devoted Mother": Winnicott's BBC broadcasts, 1943-62', which I found particularly fascinating for its elucidation of the important part played by his BBC radio producers, Janet Quigley and Isa Benzie, in the production, not just in style but in content, of these broadcasts, which formed the foundation of Winnicott's acclaimed work on motherhood and good enough mothering, and eventually published by Penguin as The Child, the Family and the Outside World. My mind went to a rather tangential place about women and BBC radio, following some archival encounters with Hilda Matheson's work in the 30s and a paper at the Women's History Network conference last year on early women's work at the BBC, and this possible unsung tradition of women pioneers in the field. But it was also interesting about the circumstances of production as very situated within a particular (popular) context rather than within the more elevated realms of psychoanalytic theory.

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