Female Sexuality in Modernist Fiction : Literary Techniques for Making Women Artists book cover
1st Edition

Female Sexuality in Modernist Fiction
Literary Techniques for Making Women Artists

ISBN 9780367552312
Published April 29, 2022 by Routledge
152 Pages

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Book Description

Female Sexuality in Modernist Fiction: Literary Techniques for Making Women Artists provides a chronological investigation of the innovative writing styles of canonical modernist writers to reveal a shift in gendered representations of sexual subjectivity.

Positioned at the nexus of studies on the body and sexuality in modernist literature, this book addresses the complex ways that constructions of female sexuality are understood culturally, politically, and epistemologically. Using close reading strategies to identify how modernist authors challenge representations of female positionality as passive, case studies consider how canonical modernist authors – Virginia Woolf, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett –  found new ways to represent women as embodied, sexual, desired, and desiring subjects through prose, poetry, and drama. This book addresses Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography (1928), Yeats’ The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933), Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939), Beckett’s Not I (1972), and other dramatic works. By rendering sexuality more obviously as a component of female character, these works of modernist literature shape our understanding of the artistic body as a structure for thinking about "woman" as a linguistic construct and material reality.

This study is will be of great interest to scholars in English literature, women and gender studies, and sexuality studies.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Clothing and the Female Body in Woolf’s Orlando

Chapter 2: Yeats’ Female Forms and Poetic Figures

Chapter 3: Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl

Chapter 4: Playing the (Body) Part in Beckett’s Theater


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Elaine Wood holds a Ph.D. in English and Gender and Women’s Studies (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015) and a J.D. in Law (University of Miami School of Law, 2019). She serves as the Code of Conduct Ombudsperson for the International Flann O’Brien Society. Her teaching and scholarship investigate how to sustain and attain equity and justice at the intersection of sexuality and law. Prior to teaching Women’s and Gender Studies at Bucknell University, Professor Wood served as a law clerk for the U.S. Department of Justice.