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EN902 Modernism and Gender: An Ango-American Tradition

From the mid-1980s, a new phase in Modernist studies emerged, focussing on the significance of gender issues. This was spearheaded by Shari Benstock's Women of the Left Bank, Hanscombe and Smyers' Writing for their Lives: The Modernist Women 1910-1940, Gilbert and Gubar's three volume work No Man's Land, and Bonnie Kime Scott's two volume Refiguring Modernism. Each of these critical studies challenged traditional interpretations of literary modernism. This module will investigate briefly conceptions of gender in the poetry and critical prose of a representative masculinist artist, Ezra Pound, and will then concentrate on the writings and contributions of women artists. The module will use the critical anthology: Bonnie Kime Scott ed., The Gender of Modernism, as a set text. This will enable seminar members to discuss theoretical concerns, as expressed in reviews and critical essays, and will facilitate access to a number of shorter literary texts. In addition the module will focus on a selection of novels by women modernist authors, as listed below. Seminars will seek to generate readings and interpretations of these texts in accordance with the intellectual interests of the group members.

Indicative Set Reading

Primary Texts
Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (1937)
Willa Cather, The Professor's House (1926)
H.D., Her (1981) and selected poems
H.D. End to Torment: A Memoir of Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound, Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir
Ezra Pound, cantos 29 & 81
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives (1909) and selected poems
Jean Rhys, Voyage in the Dark (1967)
Bonnie Kime Scott ( ed.), The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology, (Indiana University Press, 1990)
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)

Background Reading
Shari Benstock, Women of the Left Bank, (London: Virago, 1987)
Malcolm Bradbury & James McFarlane (eds.), Modernism: A Guide to European Literature 1890-1930, (London: Penguin Books, 1991)
Gilbert / Gubar, No Man's Land, vol 1, (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1987)
vol 2, (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989)
vol 3, (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1995)
Gillian Hanscombe & Virginia L. Smyers, Writing for Their Lives, (London: The Women's Press, 1987)
Michael Levenson (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Ira B. Nadel (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Ezra Pound, (Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Peter Nicholls, Modernisms, (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995)
Bonnie Kime Scott, Refiguring Modernism, 2 vols, (Indiana University Press, 1995)