Olivia Lyon

The Performativity and Significance of Headwear in the Works of British Authors of the Early 20th Century.

This project is a continuation of the work from my Masters dissertation (on the significance of headwear in the works of Charlotte Bronte and Elizabeth Gaskell). It investigates the descriptions of hats and headwear in the works of DH Lawrence, Michael Arlen and Catherine Carswell in order to demonstrate that headwear serves as an independent outward identifier of a character's internal motives and emotions, as well as having the capacity to provide insights into the cultural sensibilities of the time period depicted within the novels. Additionally, headwear is able to operate as a means for characters within novels to subvert and reinforce traditionally-held notions of gender, power, and class. It is my belief (and has been throughout my postgraduate studies) that headwear has a transformative capacity far beyond other items of clothing or accessories studied within fashion theory, and I hope to encourage further research in this field through my work.