Materiality in Modernist Short Fiction : Lived Things book cover
1st Edition

Materiality in Modernist Short Fiction
Lived Things

  • Available for pre-order on December 19, 2022. Item will ship after January 9, 2023
ISBN 9780367741907
January 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
182 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Materiality in Modernist Short Fiction provides a fresh approach to reading material things in modern fiction, accounting for the interplay of the material and the cultural. This volume investigates how Djuna Barnes, Katherine Mansfield, and Jean Rhys use the short story form to evoke the material world as both living and lived, and how the spaces they create for challenging gendered social norms can also be nonanthropocentric spaces for encounters between the human and the nonhuman. Using the unique knowledge created by literary works to spark new conversations between phenomenology, cognitive studies, and new materialisms, complemented with a feminist perspective, this book explores how literature can touch the basic experience of being in, feeling and making sense of a material world that is itself alive and active. From a sensitive reading of how three women used the material world to make their readers see, feel, and question the norms shaping our experience, this volume draws a theory of reading affective materiality that illuminates modernism and the short story form but also reaches beyond them.

Table of Contents


List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction

Reading Things, Senses, and Meanings

Intricate Things on the Page: the Modernist Short Fiction of Djuna Barnes, Katherine Mansfield, and Jean Rhys

2. Powerful Things

Ironical Spirits and Living Mannequins: Jean Rhys, Magic, and Surrealism

Dolls, Boots, and Madames: Djuna Barnes Rewrites Fetishism

3. Lively Things

Djuna Barnes’s Piled-up and Entangled Assemblages

Katherine Mansfield Writing a Nonhuman Life

4. Touching Things

Nice Things: Materiality and Positive affect in Katherine Mansfield’s and Jean Rhys’s Stories

The Affective Journeys of Djuna Barnes’s and Katherine Mansfield’s Stories

5. Making Sense of Things

Masses and Vividnesses: the Aesthetics and Ethics of The Left Bank

At the Indifferent Bay: Nonhuman Perspectives and Meaning in Katherine Mansfield’s Stories

Djuna Barnes’s Detail and the Materiality of the Symbolic

6. Conclusion: Reading Affective Materiality

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Laura Oulanne is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki and a Visiting Scholar at Johns Hopkins University. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Helsinki and Justus Liebig University, Giessen. She has published on materiality, affectivity, and the mind in Djuna Barnes, Jane Bowles, Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein, and Virginia Woolf.