While You Are in England: A Novel and Commentary about the Refugees of 1938-40

Lambert, Sonia. 2021. While You Are in England: A Novel and Commentary about the Refugees of 1938-40. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

ECW_thesis_LambertS_2021.pdf - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This Creative Writing PhD consists of two parts. The first part is a novel entitled Sea Air, which deals with the Internment of ‘Enemy Aliens’ (most of whom were in fact Jewish refugees) by the British in 1939-40. It is the story of Ludwig and Hilde, who have escaped from Germany to London, where they hope they will be safe. After war breaks out, Ludwig is interned by the British and then deported by ship, while Hilde is sent to Holloway Prison and then to the Isle of Man. The second part is a CriticalCommentary which looks at representations of female refugees to England in three novels published during the Second World War. The Inquest by Robert Neumann, Young Woman of Europe by Ruth Feiner, and Family from Vienna by Eunice Buckley (Rose Allatini) were written in English by German-speaking authors, drawing on their lived experience. The texts show how female refugees were forced to reconstruct their identities on every level. The experience of exile impacted on their relationships, economic circumstances and national and ethnic/religious affiliations, often prompting a reconsideration of the norms and codes by which they previously lived. I discuss these themes with reference to a wartime essay by Hannah Arendt, ‘We Refugees,’and explore the way that these issues have played out in the writing of my own novel.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Internment, WW2, Second World War, Enemy Aliens, Refugee Literature, female refugees, Exile, Neumann, Buckley, Allatini, Arendt, Creative Writing

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


31 January 2021

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

23 Jun 2021 12:40

Last Modified:

31 Jan 2024 02:26



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)