Prefacing modernism: The marketing and mentoring of women writers in the early twentieth century.
AuthorKineke, Sheila Alyce.
Committee ChairEpstein, William H.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation investigates the material conditions that produced modernist literature by interrogating male-female literary mentoring relationships; it considers the prefaces written by T. S. Eliot for Marianne Moore and Djuna Barnes, and by Ford Madox Ford by Jean Rhys, as well as the circumstances that gave rise to those prefaces. The Introduction argues for a feminist and deconstructionist treatment of biographical materials, and establishes the ontological and political connections between prefaces and books. Chapter Two focuses on Marianne Moore's mentoring by T. S. Eliot. It places that relationship within the contexts of Moore's familial bonds, and the institutionalization of modernist poetry through the big and little magazines which promoted and critiqued it. It also considers Eliot's preface to Moore's Selected Poems and its influence on later readers, and reads Moore's 1930's poetry against her earlier poems in order to gauge the impact of Eliot and of the politics of modernist poetry on her work. Chapter Three places Djuna Barnes's relationship with Eliot in the context of Barnes's early family life, noting how issues of consumption (especially as regards forms of familial nurturance and abuse) pertain in both. My readings of Nightwood and The Antiphon trope Barnes's language of reproduction and nurturance in order to explore her vexed relationships to these issues. Jean Rhys's best known novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, describes the relationship between a white West Indian woman and an English man in terms that powerfully echo Rhys's own affair with Ford Madox Ford and the issues of autonomy that were central to her reading of it. Chapter Four takes up that relationship as reflected in Ford's and Rhys's writings about each other--especially in Ford's orientalizing preface to Rhys's first book, and her multiple responses to it. As is true in all cases treated here, the master's prefaces marks the woman's text in crucial ways that have previously been overlooked. My conclusion calls for an approach to modernist literature that includes the biographical as a destabilizing element and that takes up Deleuze and Guattari's notion of a minor literature as a promising conceptualization of "non-masterful" work.