Since the 1970s, the literary and cultural politics of the turn-of-the-century New Woman have received increasing academic attention. Whether she is seen as the emblem of sexual anarchy, an agent of mediation between mass market and modernist cultures, or as a symptom of the consolidation of nineteenth and early twentieth-century political liberation movements, the New Woman represents a site of cultural and socio-political contestation and acts as a marker of modernity. This book explores the diversity of meanings ascribed to the New Woman in the context of cultural debates conducted within and across a wide range of national frameworks including the UK, Canada, North America, Europe, and Japan. The key concept of 'hybridities' is used to elucidate the national and ethnic multiplicity of the 'modern woman' as well as to locate this figure both within international consumer culture and within feminist writing.
The book is structured around four key themes. 'Hybridities' examines the instabilities of New Woman identities and discourses in relation to both national/ethnic contexts and the textual parameters of New Woman writings. 'Through the (Periodical) Looking Glass' is concerned with the periodical press and its production and circulation of New Woman images. 'Feminist Counter Cultures?' interrogates feminist efforts to influence and shape this process by mimicking or subverting dominant models of representation and by establishing alternative spaces for the articulation of New Woman subjectivities. 'Race and the New Woman' inspects white New Women's investment in hegemonic racial discourses, looking at the way in which black and non-Western women inserted liberationist discourses into the New Woman debate. This book will be essential reading for advanced students and researchers of American Studies, Women's Studies, and Women's History.
Table of Contents
Part One: Hybridities
1. Bertha Thomas: The New Women and Ango-Welsh Hybridity Kirsti Bohata
2. A Hungarian New Woman Writer and a Hybrid Autobiographical Subjact: Margit Kaffka's 'Lyrical Notes of a Year' Nóra Séllei
Part Two: Through the (Periodical) Looking Glass
3. Writing Women's History: 'The Sex' Debates of 1889 Laurel Brake
4. The American New Women and her influence on the Daughters of the Empire of British Columbia in the Daily Press (1880-1895) Françoise Le Jeune
5. Locating the Flapper in Rural Irish Society: The Irish Provincial Press and the Modern Woman in the 1920s Louise Ryan
6. Subverting the Flapper: The Unlikely Alliance of Irish Popular and Ecclesiastical Press in the 1920s Maryann Gialanella Valiulis
7. Riding the Tiger: Ambivalent Images of the New Woman in the Popular Press of the Weimar Republic Ingrid Sharp
Part Three: Communities of Women
8. Romance, Glamour and the Exotic: Feminity and Fashion in Britain in the 1900s Hilary Fawcett
9. Charged with Ambiguity: The Image of the New Women in American Cartoons Angelika Köhler
10. The day of the Girl: Nell Brinkley and the New Woman Trina Robbins
11. 'The Woman of the Twentieth Century': The Feminist Vision and its Reception in the Hungarian Press 1904-1914 Judit Acsády
12. The New Woman in Japan: Radicalism and Ambivalence toward Love and Sex Kazue Muta
Part Four: Race and the New Woman
13. 'Natural' Divisions/National Divisions: Whiteness and the American New Woman in the General Federation of Women's Clubs Jill Bergman
14. The Birth of National Hygiene and Efficiency: Women and Eugenics in Britain and America 1865-1915 Angelique Richardson
Ann Heilmann is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Wales, Swansea. She is the author of New Woman Fiction (2000) and the editor of Feminist Forerunners: New Womanism and Feminism in the Early Twentieth Century (2003). Margaret Beetham is reader in the Department of English at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is the author of A Magazine of Her Own: Domesticity and Desire in the Woman's Magazine1800-1914 (1996) and editor (with Kay Boardman) of Victorian Women's Magazine: An Anthology (2001). Her research interests are in histories of popular print and of the domestic and in the feminist theory and pedagogy.
'The strength of this collection lies in its exploration of the tensions between the New Woman and modernity, tensions which the contributors demonstrate to be wide-ranging, both ideologically and geographically.' - Stacy Gills, Feminist and Women's Studies Association Newsletter
'Utilises a wide range of sources ... provides useful examples of how theories of 'hybridity' may be employed by interdisciplinary scholars.' - Literature & History