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Women's Experience of Modernity, 1875-1945

Ann L. Ardis and Leslie W. Lewis

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In Women's Experience of Modernity, 1875–1945, literary scholars working with a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies move feminine phenomena from the margins of the study of modernity to its center. Analyzing such cultural practices as selling and shopping, political and social activism, urban field work and rural labor, radical discourses on feminine sexuality, and literary and artistic experimentation, this volume contributes to the rich vein of current feminist scholarship on the "gender of modernism" and challenges the assumption that modernism rose naturally or inevitably to the…

In Women's Experience of Modernity, 1875–1945, literary scholars working with a variety of interdisciplinary methodologies move feminine phenomena from the margins of the study of modernity to its center. Analyzing such cultural practices as selling and shopping, political and social activism, urban field work and rural labor, radical discourses on feminine sexuality, and literary and artistic experimentation, this volume contributes to the rich vein of current feminist scholarship on the "gender of modernism" and challenges the assumption that modernism rose naturally or inevitably to the forefront of the cultural landscape at the turn of the twentieth century.

During this period, "women's experience" was a rallying cry for feminists, a unifying cause that allowed women to work together to effect social change and make claims for women's rights in terms of their access to the public world—as voters, paid laborers, political activists, and artists commenting on life in the modern world. Women's experience, however, also proved to be a source of great divisiveness among women, for claims about its universality quickly unraveled to reveal the classism, racism, and Eurocentrism of various feminist activities and organizations.

Complementing recent attempts to historicize literary modernism by providing more thorough analyses of its material production, the essays in this volume examine both literary and non-literary writings of Jane Addams, Djuna Barnes, Toru Dutt, Radclyffe Hall, H.D., Pauline Hopkins, Emma Dunham Kelley, Amy Levy, Alice Meynell, Bram Stoker, Ida B. Wells, Rebecca West, and others as discursive events that shape our conception of the historical real. Instead of focusing exclusively or even centrally on modernism and literature, these essays address a broad array of textual materials, from political pamphlets to gynecology textbooks, as they investigate women's responses to the rise of commodity capitalism, middle-class women's entrance into the labor force, the welfare state's invasion of the working-class home, and the intensified eroticization of racial and class differences.

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Women's Experience of Modernity, 1875-1945

Ann L. Ardis and Leslie W. Lewis

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Reviews

Reviews

The essays in this volume are outstanding in their complex representations of writers and writings readers are unlikely to know; their logical and political acuity are incisive.

By insisting that women's experience defines modernity, and by traversing modernist and literary boundaries, the contributors to this excellent volume both recover lost cultural resources and pursue fresh lines of feminist thinking. The essays reach back to Victorian pretexts to modernity, into imperial sites, and through a rich variety of commercial and public discourses. Required reading for scholars of modernism and the modern world.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
328
ISBN
9780801869358
Illustration Description
5 halftones
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I. Negotiating the Literary Marketplace
Writing a Public Self: Alice Meynell's "Unstable Equilibrium"
Towards a New "Colored "Consciousness: Biracial Identity on Pauline

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Part I. Negotiating the Literary Marketplace
Writing a Public Self: Alice Meynell's "Unstable Equilibrium"
Towards a New "Colored "Consciousness: Biracial Identity on Pauline Hopkins's Fiction
The Authority of Experience: Jane Adams and Hull-House
"This Other Eden": Homoeroticism and the Great War in the Early Poetry of H.D. and Radclyffe Hall
The Heir Apparent: Opal Whiteley and the Female as Child in America
Part II. Outside the Metropolis In-Between Modernity: Toru Dutt (1856–1877) from a Postcolonial Perspective
New Negro Modernity: Worldliness and Interiority in the Novels of Emma Dunham Kelley-Hawkins
Olive Schreiner, South Africa, and the Costs of Modernity
"Tropical Ovaries": Gynecological Degeneration and Lady Arabella's "Female Difficulties"in Bram Stoker's The Lair of the White Worm
Two Talks with Khun Fa
Part III. The Shifting Terrian of Public Life "Stage Business"as Citizenship: Ida B. Wells at the World's Columbian Exposition
Phenomena in Flux: The Aesthetics and Politics of Traveling in Modernity
The New Woman's Appetite for "Riotous Living": Rebecca West, Modernist Feminism, and the Everyday
Djuna Barnes Makes a Specialty of Crime: Violence and the Visual in Her Early Journalism
In Pursuit of an Erogamic Life: Marie Stopes and the Culture of Married Love
Shift Work: Observing Women Observing, 1937–1945
Afterword
Notes on Contributors
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Ann L. Ardis, Ph.D.

Ann L. Ardis is a professor of English at University of Delaware. She is the author of New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism and co-editor (with Bonnie Kime Scott) of Virginia Woolf Turning the Centuries: Selected Papers from the Ninth Annual conference on Virginia Woolf.