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Modernism and Gender. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own “The title women and fiction might mean, and you may have meant it to mean, women and what they.

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Presentation on theme: "Modernism and Gender. Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own “The title women and fiction might mean, and you may have meant it to mean, women and what they."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modernism and Gender

2 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own “The title women and fiction might mean, and you may have meant it to mean, women and what they are like, or it might mean women and the fiction that they write; or it might mean women and the fiction that is written about them; or it might mean that somehow all three are inextricably linked together.” (3)

3 Ezra Pound “Make it new” “The phallus or spermatozoid charging, head-on, the female chaos” “Even oneself has felt it driving any new idea into the great passive vulva of London” “The mind is an up-spurt of sperm”, “the form-creator” “Without any digression on feminism, [...] one offers woman as the accumulation of her hereditary aptitudes, [...] but to man, given what we have in history, the ‛inventions’, the new gestures, the extravagance, the wild shots, the new bathing of cerebral tissues.”

4 Marinetti’s futurist manifesto (1909): “We are out to glorify war: The only health-giver of the world! Militarism! Patriotism! The destructive Arm of the Anarchist! Ideas that kill! Contempt for women!”

5 Otto Weininger: Sex and Character: “Women have no existence and essence; they are not, they are nothing. Woman has no share in ontological reality.” D.H Lawrence: “Perhaps the greatest revolution in our modern times is the emancipation of women: and perhaps the deepest foght for two thousand years or more has been the fight for woman’s independence, or freedom, call it what you will. The fight has been bitter and, it seems to me, it is won. It is even going beyond, and becoming the tyranny of woman, of the individual woman in the house, and of the feminine ideas and ideals in the world.”

6 T.S. Eliot: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock “In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo. And indeed there will be time To wonder: ‛Do I dare’ and, ‛Do I dare?” Time to turn back and descend the stair, With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— (They will say: ‛How his hair is growing thin!’) My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, (They will say: ‛But how his arms and legs are growing thin!’) Do I dare Disturb the universe? [...]

7 For I have known the arms already, known them all— Arms that are braceleted and white and bare (But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!) Is it perfume from a dress That makes me so digress? Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl And should I then presume? And should I begin?”

8 D.H. Lawrence: Hensure Men and Cocksure Women “And this is what makes the cocksureness of women so dangerous, so devastating.It is really out of scheme, it is not in relation to the rest of things. So we have the tragedy of cocksure women. They find, so often, that instead of having laid an egg, they have laid a vote, or an empty ink-bottle, or some other absolutely unhatchable object, which means nothing to them. [...] It is all fundamentally disconnected. It is all an attitude, and one day the attitude will become a weird cramp, a pain, and then it will collapse. [...] Having lived their life with such utmost strenuousness and cocksureness, she has missed her life altogether. Nothingness!” “Fight for your life, men. Fight your wife out of her own self- conscious pre-occupation with herself. Batter her out of it until she is stunned.”

9 “as the battle of the sexes raged in public and in private, between stern Victorian husbands and their maddened wives, between turn-of-the-century misogynists and rebellious suffragists, between modernist no-men and autonomous New Women, between mid-century he-men and ambitious independent women, between contemporary masculinists and second- wave feminists, literary men and women began to wage war not only with but over words themselves.” (Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar)

10 The New Woman was constructed ‘as simultaneously non-female, unfeminine and ultra-feminine.’ (Pykett 1992: 140)

11 “literary men and women began to wage war not only with but over words themselves. Indeed, both the sphere of literary history and the nature of the language out of which that history is constituted became crucial combat zones, since both the man’s case and the woman’s cause had to be based not only on redefinitions of female and male nature but also on revisions of the aesthetic assumptions and linguistic presumptions of patriarchal culture.” (Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar)

12 Major works The Voyage Out 1915 Night and Day 1919 Jacob’s Room 1923 Mrs Dalloway 1925 To the Lighthouse 1927 Orlando 1928 A Room of One’s Own 1929 The Waves 1931 Flush 1933 The Years 1937 Three Guineas 1938 Between the Acts 1941

13 Women of the Left Bank Natalie Barney Anais Nïn Djuna Barnes Colette H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) Edith Wharton Jean Rhys

14 Gertrude Stein The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Three Lives (The Good Anna, Melanctha, The Gentle Lena) “Ada” Tender Buttons The Making of Americans

15 ‘The Gentle Lena’ “Lena was patient, gentle, sweet and german. She had been a servant for four years, and had liked it very well. Lena had been brought from Germany to Bridgepoint by a cousin and had been in the same place there for four years. This place Lena had found very good. There was a pleasant, unexacting mistress and her children, and they all liked Lena very well. There was a cook there who scolded Lena a great deal but Lena’a german patience held no suffering and the good incessant woman really scolded Lena for Lena’s good. [... ] Lena had good hard work all morning, and on the pleasant, sunny afternoons she was sent out into the park to sit and watch the little two year old girl baby of the family. The other girls, all of them that make the pleasant, lazy crowd, that watch the children in the sunny afternoons out in the park, all liked the simple, gentle, german Lena very well.”

16 Katherine Mansfield ( ) (Kathleen Beauchamp)

17 Jean Rhys ( ) The Left Bank and Other Stories (1927) Voyage in the Dark (1934) Good Morning, Midnight (1939) Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) Smile Please (1979)

18 Peter Childs: Modernism “any history or definiton insinuates many implicit exclusions. Modernism has predominantly been presented in white, male, heterosexist, Euro- American middle-class terms,, and any of the recent challenges to each of these aspects either reorients the term itself and dilutes the elitism of a pantheon of modernist writers, or introduces another one of a plurality of modernisms.”


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