Until about 1986, feminists generally considered modernism a reactionary, misogynist, and hegemonic mire not worth investigating. Since then enough studies of modernism have appeared that 17 feminist critics can now review and debate their treatment of the period. They evaluate the progress and goals of the new era of modernist scholarship.
As the authors in this volume suggest, instead of condemning writers for not practicing or portraying an acceptable politics of gender, we ought instead to show how their assumptions about the nature of the sexes inform their texts, both in their creation and in their reception. This also allows examination of the complex and changing relationship between human subjectivity and aesthetics.
This volume is a highly reflective dialogue, introspective and evaluative, at a moment of crisis within modernist studies and feminist studies. The analysis of critical work on early-twentieth-century literature not only helps reread and redefine a definition of modernism; it also intends to redirect and reintegrate feminist theory.
Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction 1. Lost and Found: Remembering Modernism, Rethinking Feminism Lisa Rado Part 2: Rereading Modernism 2. A Manifesto for Feminine Modernism: Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage Lynette Felber 3. Rebecca West’s Criticism: Alliance, Tradition and Modernism Margaret D. Stetz 4. Woolf, Cézanne, and the Nachträglichkeit of Feminist Modernism George Smith 5. Expatriate Sapphic Modernism: Entering Literary History Shari Benstock 6. Afro-American Women Writers: The New Negro Movement 1924-1933 Ann Allen Shockley 7. To Hell With It: Modernism in a Feminist Frame David R. Jarraway 8. Doris Lessing’s Golden Notebook: A Paradox of Postmodern Play Suzette Henke Part 3: Rereading Feminist Criticism 9. Modernism and Modernity: Engendering Literary History Rita Felski 10. A Joyce of One’s Own: Following the Lead of Woolf, West and Barnes Bonnie Kime Scott 11. Repossessing Papa: A Narcissistic Meditation for Literary Throwbacks Mark Spilka 12. Subject to Change: The Problematics of Authority in Feminist Modernist Biography Sheila Kineke 13. Feminist Criticism/Cultural Studies/Modernist Texts: A Manifesto for the ‘90s Deborah F. Jacobs Part 4: New Directions 14. Invisible Assistants or Lab Partners? Female Modernism and the Culture(s) of Modern Science Susan M. Squier 15. "Excellent Not a Hull House": Gertrude Stein, Jane Addams, and Feminist-Modernist Political Culture Marianne DeKoven 16. The "Great Company of Real Women": Modernist Women Writers and Mass Commercial Culture Angela Hewett 17. Reading "as a Modernist"/Denaturalizing Modernist Reading Protocols: Wyndham Lewis’s Tarr Ann L. Ardis