Bridget Keown

“Everything Seems Wrong:” The Postwar Struggles of One Female Veteran of the First World War

Around the world, ceremonies, public art installations, concerts, lectures, and educational events are commemorating the fallen of the First World War, to make beauty, peace, and sense out of a century of global grief. These ceremonies provide a critical sense of closure to a world still reeling from the political, economic, and personal ramifications of… Read more →

Bohemian Rhapsody

In July 1985, at 6:20pm local time, Queen (comprised of bassist John Deacon, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and lead singer Freddie Mercury) took the stage at Wembley Stadium for their performance as part of Live Aid, a star-studded concert broadcast worldwide to raise money for famine victims in Ethiopia. Critics have consistently ranked… Read more →

“We’re Here As Women”: General Hospital, #MeToo, and the Power of Soap Operas

Split personalities and evil twins, secret babies and long-lost heirs. Soap operas provide us with stories of high drama and deep intrigue, contrasting scenes of familiar domestic life with a narrative tuned to the highest possible emotional frequency. Because they air every day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, daytime soap operas are… Read more →

The Favorite Sister

There are few things I enjoy more in my fiction than a good, unreliable narrator. As someone who loves the art of storytelling, I find the way an unreliable narrator can construct a façade, building a truth out of a false assumption, a misremembered interaction, or an outright deception — and I find the tumble,… Read more →

“What Must That Sound Like?”: The Trauma of Family Separation

On June 22, 2018, US Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat from California’s 33rd District, stood on the floor of the House of Representatives to demand action regarding the children in “Tender Age” detention shelters as a result of the Trump Administration’s new immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the US/Mexican border. In… Read more →

The Dangers of the Damaged Hero: Gender and Suffering in Romance Novels

I unabashedly love romance novels. As a reader, I find that a well-crafted happy ending is a wonderful antidote to a world that seems at times utterly devoid of them. As a scholar of gender, I am fascinated by the ways in which sexuality, power, and desire are constructed, discussed, and challenged. Moreover, I heartily… Read more →

“Shock from Loss”: The Reality of Grief in the First World War

On October 24, 1918, fifty-eight-year-old Elizabeth was admitted to the City of London Mental Hospital by her husband.1 He stated that she had been suffering for the past fourteen months with “shock from loss of her two sons in the War.”2 He further explained that her younger son had been killed in action, and her… Read more →

“Bought some souvenirs as usual and a cheese:” Nurses’ Lives Outside the Hospital in the First World War

A great deal has been written about soldiers’ experiences behind the lines during the First World War and the relationships they forged in the course of their service. From visiting brothels to performing in amateur theatricals, interpersonal and romantic relationships had lasting effects on men after their service had ended.1 Janet S.K. Watson has noted… Read more →

Listening to Women: Accessing Women’s Pain from First World War Pension Records

In March 1917, Nurse G., a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse, was on duty at 29 General Hospital in Salonika, Greece, when the hospital sustained its second air raid in a week.1 According to the matron of the hospital, “in the next tent to where she was on duty a bomb was dropped, completely wrecking… Read more →

“I Would Rather Have My Own Mind”: The Medicalization of Women’s Behavior in Ireland, 1914-1920

When he brought her to the asylum, twenty-four-year old Katie’s father was asked to describe what behaviors or actions had marked her “attack.” He noted, first, that she suffered from “some uterine trouble,” and secondly, that she was “addicted to reading Novels, esp. Modn. cheap ones. Fond of amusement and gay society.”1 It sounds like… Read more →