Boys in Khaki, Girls in Print: Women's Literary Responses to the Great War 1914-1918

Clarendon Press
Publication year

Potter writes that "This book is an out-growth of a chapter published in 1997, which looked in detail for the first time at books normally dismissed as either unworthy of critical consideration or unpalatable from an ideological point of view. Six additional texts will be considered here and given close readings usually reserved for 'elite' works" (3-4) and

The romance novels scrutinized in Chapter 3 consistently claim that women should encourage their men in their duty to fight, but passive grief and suffering are never lauded - women must be emotionally, if not sometimes physically tough. The narrative possibilities offered by the War were limitless and novelists rose to he challenge of creating 'amusing' and 'light' tales of entertainment while at the same time performing a patriotic function. (7)


This chapter will consider only a fraction of the hundreds of 'light fiction' books published between 1914 and 1918: My Heart's Right There (1914) by Florence Barclay, Khaki and Kisses (1915) by Berta Ruck, Richard Chatterton, V.C. (1915) by Ruby M. Ayres, A Girl Munition Worker (1917) by Bessie Marchant, Before the Wind (1918) by Janet Laing, and 'Good Old Anna' (1915) by Marie Belloc Lowndes. (90)

Works in this collection