'Her body [was] like a hard-worked machine': Women's work and disability in coalfields literature, 1880-1950

Alexandra Jones


This essay considers the representation of women's work and disability in British coalfields literature in the period 1880-1950. Industrial settings are a rich source for literature concerned with bodily health, injury and disability and offer insights into the gendering of the working body whether male or female. Situating this largely realist body of novels, stories and plays in its historical context, this article will focus on intersections between work, class and gender. It shows how the vital, but unpaid, work of women in domestic labour was depicted as an extension of the industrial machine, which had clear consequences in terms of high mortality and morbidity rates amongst women.


Disability; Illness; Women; Literature; Industrial; Domestic; Work; Coal; Wales; Scotland, England

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v37i4.6103

Copyright (c) 2017 Alexandra Jones

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