A wild colonial girl: reconstructing Beatrice Hastings

The career of Beatrice Hastings is of particular significance to the world of South African English-language letters. Although she is overlooked in all the literary histories, her written output represents an interesting strain in the cultural practices and products of the two periods her life straddled: the late Victorian and the early Modern. She wrote much of her work between 1907 and 1920: three factual books, three novels, dozens of short stories and poems. This article shows how she features in the biographies of her lovers (noted writers and painters) in England and France. In France, where she lived for a decade (1914-1924), she continued producing her quite extraordinary columns for the ‘New Age’, in which she handled such transforming events as the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the advent of Freudian psychology, and the Modernist revolution. Hastings, who was born in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) in 1879, committed suicide in England in 1943. Her own testimony of her extraordinary life and work will not become reactivated until that general contribution made by colonial women to the advancement of 20th-century democracy has been acknowledged and appreciated. Bibliogr.

Title:A wild colonial girl: reconstructing Beatrice Hastings
Author: Gray, Stephen
Year:1994
Periodical:Current Writing: Text and Reception in Southern Africa
Volume:6
Issue:2
Pages:113-126
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
About person:Beatrice Hastings (1879-1943)
Abstract:The career of Beatrice Hastings is of particular significance to the world of South African English-language letters. Although she is overlooked in all the literary histories, her written output represents an interesting strain in the cultural practices and products of the two periods her life straddled: the late Victorian and the early Modern. She wrote much of her work between 1907 and 1920: three factual books, three novels, dozens of short stories and poems. This article shows how she features in the biographies of her lovers (noted writers and painters) in England and France. In France, where she lived for a decade (1914-1924), she continued producing her quite extraordinary columns for the ‘New Age’, in which she handled such transforming events as the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the advent of Freudian psychology, and the Modernist revolution. Hastings, who was born in Port Elizabeth (South Africa) in 1879, committed suicide in England in 1943. Her own testimony of her extraordinary life and work will not become reactivated until that general contribution made by colonial women to the advancement of 20th-century democracy has been acknowledged and appreciated. Bibliogr.