"The Exquisite Moment": May Sinclair's battle for "reality" in the First World War

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This article explores the wartime output of British writer May Sinclair, contextualizing these writings within the wider impact of modernity on the European intellectual milieu in the early twentieth century. It summarizes Sinclair's philosophical neo-idealism before analyzing how this philosophy informed her wartime fiction. In so doing, it views Sinclair as an example of a far wider trend in modern intellectual discourse that is dubbed "palingenetic." This is a form of thinking characterized by sensitivity to senses of degeneration, decadence and an immanent "sense of an ending," and uses these themes to develop ideas of rebirth, regeneration and redemption
Original languageEnglish
JournalMinerva Journal of Women and War
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2007



  • Idealism
  • May Sinclair
  • modernism
  • modernity
  • palingenesis
  • reality
  • rebirth
  • redemption
  • spirituality
  • First World War

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