The question "How should we talk about abortion?" drives two of the most popular fictional abortion narratives of the 1920s: Ernest Hemingway's now canonical "Hills Like White Elephants" (1927) and Viña Delmar's once best-selling novel Bad Girl (1928). In both, a crisis of communication organizes a crisis of reproduction as the characters' emotionally awkward speech forestalls the realization of the modern nuclear family. As these works propose, modernism's impersonal aesthetic ideal is modernity's domestic disaster, and so diagnosed, they seek an alternative literary performance that would transform their New Women into New Mothers and their modernist Bad-Boys into All-American Dads.


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