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Steven Macnamara

Research Student, Faculty of Arts


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (part-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

Representations of masculinities in the novels of Radclyffe Hall

Research Summary

My research investigates the construction of masculine identities in the novels of one of literature's most infamous female masculine writers, Radclyffe Hall. Although Hall's novels, in particular the lesbian-themed The Well of Loneliness (1928), have attracted a considerable amount academic discussion, surprisingly there has been no comprehensive examination of masculinity in her work. As a woman who consciously constructed her own female masculine identity, Hall's work presents a unique opportunity to examine the representations of masculinity from a writer who challenged the boundaries of gender identity.

I am particularly interested in the ways in which Hall's Catholicism interacted and responded to popular culture, as well as with the modernist movement. Hall's faith was responsible for shaping the style and content of her work, including the construction of her masculine identities (both that of her characters and her own masculinised persona). By examining the impact of early twentieth century religious events, trends and iconography, I have been able to reveal, for the first time, the hidden and recurring presence of Joan of Arc in Hall's life and work. Joan of Arc was one of the best and most formative examples of female masculinity available to Hall in her day. Although she is never directly mentioned in any of Hall's novels, Joan of Arc's influence can be traced in character development, emblematic themes and cultural and religious references.

My current research is focusing on the relationship between sainthood/martyrdom and masculinity, as I question the impact spirituality has on the male characters that Hall centralises in her novels.

Research Interests

Gender, masculinity, Trans, queer theory, early cinema, clothing (fashion trends in relation to LGBTQ identities), modernism

Research Supervisor/s

Primary Funding Source/s

Self funding

Research Institutes, Centres and/or Research Clusters Memberships

None at present


Steven Macnamara, 'Joan of Arc and Radclyffe Hall: Martyrdom and Masculinity' in Reimagining Masculinities: Beyond Masculinist Epistemology, ed. by Karioris, F.G. and Loeser, C. (Witney: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2014) Forthcoming

Conference Papers & Presentations

  • 'The Life and Novels of Infamous Female Writer Radclyffe Hall', International Women's Day, presentation at Allestree Library, Derby, March 2014
  • 'Joan of Arc and Radclyffe Hall: Inspiration and Influence', 3rd Global Conference: Femininities & Masculinities, May 2013

Additional Information

I am an experienced project, programme and change manager with expertise of working on a range of community led projects and capital build programmes.

School of English

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