Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Best known for being a best-selling author of mystery and detective fiction, little attention has been paid to the six non-mystery novels Agatha Christie wrote under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Moreover, other than in biographical studies, scant critical attention exists surrounding her autobiography. Taking these seven overlooked texts into consideration, this thesis seeks to build on current Christie scholarship by looking at Christie’s commercially constructed authorial persona and looking at the ways in which the Mary Westmacott novels can be read as a form of alternative biography. By offering a close reading of both Christie’s autobiography, the work of her main biographers, and each of the six novels, I will identify the larger feminist implications of Christie’s relationship to, and portrayal of, the role that marriage and motherhood play in the 20th century British woman’s life. The thesis will conclude with a consideration of Christie’s traditional detective fiction through the lens of the Westmacott novels. Although my argument will remain unable to perform a full rehabilitation of Christie as a radical feminist, it will attempt to highlight the moments of feminist potential that are often overlooked by many Christie scholars as well as by modern portraits of the author.
Number of Pages
Keel, Jesse Marie, "Autobiography She Wrote: Agatha Christie and the Problem of Female Authorship" (2020). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 1205.