Amy E. Elkins

Amy E. Elkins is Assistant Professor of English at Macalester College. She researches twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature and feminism, as well as modern art, craft, and critical making. She is currently finishing her first book, Crafting Modernity: Remaking Feminist Time from Literary Modernism to the Multimedia Present.


Typestruck: On Women and Writing Machines

The crown jewel in the 1937 Hollywood musical Ready, Willing, & Able is an elaborate song-and-dance number called “Too Marvelous for Words.” A lovestruck male theater producer, attempting to write a love letter by dictation, is surrounded by an army of female secretaries: hanging on his words, clinging to ladders, sitting at typewriters. As the music picks up tempo, the secretaries tap their keys in time.