Women, Modernism and British Poetry, 1910–1939: Resisting Femininity by Jane Dowson
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Overview: Primarily a literary history, Women, Modernism and British Poetry, 1910-1939 provides a timely discussion of individual women poets who have become, or are becoming, well-known as their works are reprinted but about whom little has yet been written. This volume recognizes the contributions, overlooked previously, of such British poets as Anna Wickham, Nancy Cunard, Edith Sitwell, Mina Loy, Charlotte Mew, May Sinclair, Vita Sackville-West and Sylvia Townsend Warner; and the impact of such American poets as H.D., Amy Lowell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Marianne Moore and Laura Riding on literary practice in Britain. This book primarily maps the poetry scene in Britain but identifies the significance of the network of writers between London, New York and Paris. It assesses women’s participation in the diversity of modernist developments which include avant-garde experiments, quiet, but subtly challenging, formalism and assertive ‘new woman’ voices. It not only chronicles women’s poetry but also their publications and involvement in running presses, bookshops and writing criticism. Although historically situated, it is written from the perspective of contemporary debates concerning the interface of gender and modernism. The author argues that a cohering aesthetic of the poetry is a denial of femininity through various evasions of gendered identity such as masking, male and female impersonations and the rupturing of realist modes.