feminism

Shelter in Two Acts

he minuteness of her body and the expansiveness of her thought struck some as an odd contrast. In this still, her body crowded by the desk lamp, the large microphone, and the curtains that seem to drift toward her on the window’s breeze, they fuse in one perfect moment (Fig. 1). Mid-February 1994, Rome. She is speaking at the Virginia Woolf Center of the International Women’s House about the convergence of the practice of feminism and the insights of Michel Foucault. Critical of the communion of the “we,” she is taking feminism in another direction, a more theoretical direction, some would say.

“Orientations”:  A Provocation, A Welcome, An Invitation

When I was in the process of proposing and developing the volume that became Teaching Modernist Women’s Writing in English, one of my peer reviewers noted an orientation towards the celebratory, a somewhat uncritical extolling of the vibrancy of modernist women’s writing. I had found such vibrancy in communities of modernist scholars as I was working on the volume, roundtables and seminars at the annual MSA conference, including one convened in honor of Jane Marcus shortly after her death.

Orientations

A space for reorienting ourselves as scholars, teachers, writers, and practitioners of interdisciplinary modernist studies to the feminist, to the queer—and also a space for sustained orientation to feminist and queer modernisms.

Feminist Catastrophe Against Disaster Patriarchy: Curating Cinema’s First Nasty Women

How many feminist scholars and archivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? There is no punch line to this set-up. Instead, we have spent the past two years curating a four-disc DVD/Blu-ray set on “Cinema’s First Nasty Women,” a project that features 99 films from over a dozen international archives spotlighting the unrealized histories of feminist revolt and hellraising rebellion.

How to Read a Person: Elsie Lincoln Benedict’s Science of Human Analysis

Wonder Woman controls crowds, stops traffic, and makes all your wishes come true. This is not a description of the comic-book heroine invented by William Moulton Marston in 1941 but of Elsie Lincoln Benedict (1885–1970), who earned the “Wonder Woman” moniker for her self-help secrets and life-changing lectures (fig. 1). Instead of evil supervillains, she battled naysaying and bad habits. Instead of ensnaring the weak with a lasso of truth, she entranced audiences with her unmatched public speaking prowess. Her X-ray vision could diagnose a person with a single glance.

New Hands on Old Papers: Modernist Publishing and the Archival Gaze

Virginia Woolf records in her diary, September 22, 1925, clarion testimony to the transformational power of the Hogarth Press on her writing life. The avowed feminism of that final sentence has the force of proleptic aphorism; one woman’s victory over a male-dominated publishing industry might well become the rallying cry for later women printers and press owners.[2] But the future-making turn of the last sentence also eclipses the quiet force of the first: Woolf’s lament that she has sacrificed, willingly, her handwriting to the Hogarth Press.

“‘What is that noise?’ / The wind under the door”: The Waste Land, Repetition, and Feminist Pedagogy

“I did it again,” confesses Megan Quigley at the beginning of her introduction to “Reading The Waste Land with the #MeToo generation.” Teaching is, of course, an art of doing things again: we repeat assignments, advice, corrections; we repeat our own mistakes and the prejudices we’ve absorbed from our education; we reflect, revise, and begin again.

“Acting the Man”: Wyndham Lewis and the Future of Masculinity

The work of Wyndham Lewis seems like a strange place to go looking for innovative configurations of gender. Notoriously associated with what Jeffrey Herf termed “reactionary modernism,” Lewis is well known for the flamboyant misogyny and homophobia expressed in both his fiction and his theoretical writing. Unlike male modernists whose work has been subjected to richly revelatory feminist and queer rereadings (James Joyce, Marcel Proust, D. H. Lawrence, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway), Wyndham Lewis was for a long time generally assumed to be unsalvageable for any kind of progressive or even very interesting politics of gender and sexuality.

Collaborative Modernisms, Digital Humanities, and Feminist Practice

Nancy Cunard began printing alone in 1927—in a heat wave no less, as she notes in her posthumously published memoir, These Were the Hours (1969)—and struggled her way through the difficult early stages of learning how to make serviceable prints on an Albion press.[1] She quickly realized, however, that she would need help if the Hours Press were ever to become a successful small publishing house. In 1928, she therefore initiated her well-known collaboration with her lover, the jazz musician Henry Crowder, turning the printing room into a space where, as Jeremy Braddock has recently argued, “Cunard’s advocacy of radical race politics” was often perceived by others as working “in concert with the open publicizing of her own romantic relationships with black men.”[2]