Hearts of Darkness
White Women Write Race
Publication Year: 2004
The centerpiece of the book is Marcus's dialogue with one of her best-known essays, "Britannia Rules The Waves." In that piece, she argues that The Waves makes a strong anti-imperialist statement. Although many already support that argument, she now goes further in order to question the moral value of such a buried critique on Woolf's part. In "A Very Fine Negress" she analyzes the painful subject of Virginia Woolf's racism in A Room of One's Own. Other chapters traverse the connected issues of modernism, race, and imperialism. In two of them, we follow Nancy Cunard through the making of the Negro anthology and her appearance in a popular novel of the freewheeling Jazz Age. Elsewhere, Marcus delivers a complex analysis of A Passage to India, in a reading that interrogates E. M. Forster's displacement of his fear of white Englishwomen struggling for the vote.
Marcus, as always, brings considerable gifts as both researcher and writer to this collection of new and reprinted essays, a combination resulting in a powerful interpretation of many of modernism's most cherished figures.
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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First, my thanks to the editors who first published some of these essays or parts of them: Margaret Higonnet and Joan Templeton, Karen Lawrence, Mary Lynn Broe, Florence Howe, and Mae Henderson and the Harvard English Institute. Second, thanks to the many audiences in the...
1. The Empire Is Written
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Like it or not, the fall of empire and the rise of fascism are written into modernism. Treated separately by historians and literary critics, empire and fascism deserve to be looked at not only in terms of each other, as they doubtless were experienced, but also in terms of race...
2. “A Very Fine Negress”
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Measuring the degrees of irony that raise the temperature of the debate about gender and colonialism, modernism and primitivism, race and nation, in this passage or in its individual words, as they traverse a particular modernist metropolitan passage/flanerie, cannot relieve it...
3. Britannia Rules The Waves
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What has made it impossible for us to live in time like fish in water, like birds in air, like children? It is the fault of Empire! Empire has created the time of history. Empire has located its existence not in the smooth recurrent spinning time of the cycle of the seasons but in the jagged time of rise and fall, of beginning...
4. Laughing at Leviticus: Nightwood as Woman’s Circus Epic
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O monsters, do not leave me alone. . . . I do not confide in you except to tell you about my fear of being alone, you are the most human people I know, the most reassuring in the world. If I call you monsters, then what name can I give to the so-called normal conditions that were foisted upon me? Look there...
5. Bonding and Bondage: Nancy Cunard and The Making of The Negro Anthology
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If it is true that oppression belongs to the culture of the oppressors, then it is also true that cultural historians need to remember that they are the ones who name and catalog histories. Blaming the victim has too often been the result of attributing oppression to those who were...
6. Laying Down the White Woman’s Burden: Michael Arlen’s The Green Hat and Mulk Raj Anand’s Coolie
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Iris Storm (the Nancy Cunard figure in The Green Hat) is “unreproductive,” to use Angela Ingram’s term; her sexuality is not related to motherhood, nor her behavior to traditional maternal self-sacrifice. She is agent (and sign) of the end of European civilization. Primitivism, the...
Coda: How to Recognize a Public Intellectual
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When I say that in about April 1934, human character changed, I am revising Virginia Woolf ’s declaration of a revolution in (bourgeois European) seeing, engendered by the 1910 Cézanne show in London. Nancy Cunard’s huge collaborative book, Negro,—an anthology of writing...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2004