NWSA Journal

NWSA Journal
Volume 15, Number 3, Fall 2003
Special Issue: Gender and Modernism Between the Wars, 1918-1939




    Ganeva, Mila.
  • Fashion Photography and Women's Modernity in Weimar Germany: The Case of Yva
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    Subject Headings:
    • Yva, 1900-1942 -- Influence.
    • Fashion photography -- Germany -- History -- 1918-1933.
    • Women -- Germany -- Social conditions -- 1918-1933.
    • Women photographers -- Germany -- History -- 1918-1933.
      This paper examines the relevance of fashion photography as a source for the study of women's modernity in Germany between the wars as it focuses on the work of a fascinating and prolific professional photographer of the late 1920s and early 1930s—Else Neuländer Simon—known by her artistic name Yva. Yva discovered her own unique visual language somewhere between the commercial clichés and the modernist idioms of her time. As a successful professional photographer, she continuously searched for an image of the woman in fashion and advertisement photography that was not reductive and degrading. In an era when images of the woman as a sexual symbol were dominating mass media and were proven to attract customers, Yva positioned her photographed female model in a way that did not diminish her to a mere eye-catcher for the male spectator.
      fashion / Germany / photography / modernity / Weimar Republic / women
    Taylor, Melanie, 1972-
  • A Poetics of Difference: The Making of Americans and Unreadable Subjects
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    Subject Headings:
    • Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946. Making of Americans.
    • Gender identity in literature.
    • Mimesis in literature.
      This essay shifts the critical focus away from representations of variant gender identities during the interwar period and turns to the issue of representation itself. Hence, my reading of Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans as a "poetics of difference" moves the site of confrontation from the material body to the materiality of language. My discussion focuses on aspects of the text's anti-narrative techniques and includes a consideration of its resistance to principles of origin and closure, its punning, and its highly self-referential narrative voice. In light of modernist representations of sex and gender changes that both challenge and, with varying degrees of ambiguity, continue to uphold binary models of identity, Stein's text is shown partly to critique that paradoxical effect through a self-conscious dismantling of its own and (by inference) other texts' linguistic process.
      experimental writing / gender / identity / language / representation / queer theory / Stein, Gertrude
    Brassard, Geneviève.
  • From Private Story to Public History: Irene Rathbone Revises the War in the Thirties
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rathbone, Irene, 1892-1980. We that were young.
    • Women and war in literature.
    • World War, 1914-1918 -- Literature and the war.
    • Autobiographical memory in literature.
      This essay examines Irene Rathbone's wartime diary and her overlooked novel We That Were Young (1932) as key texts for our understanding of women's participation in World War I and of their contribution to that conflict's literary canon. Rathbone's novel is a feminist revision of war narratives foregrounding an ambivalent attitude toward the war and the changes it brought within English society. Rathbone both rewrites a typically male war history by featuring a marginal heroine in a liminal position between safety and danger at work near the front, and she also revises her personal wartime writings into a public work of testimony. My essay ultimately argues that Rathbone's formally traditional texts complicate and expand limited definitions of modernism as aesthetic experimentation and convey modern thematic concerns such as changing gender roles and the relativity of time during and after the war.
      autobiography / fiction / First World War / Rathbone, Irene / trauma
    Joseph, Tiffany.
  • "Non-Combatant's Shell-Shock": Trauma and Gender in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender Is the Night
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    Subject Headings:
    • Fitzgerald, F. Scott (Francis Scott), 1896-1940. Tender is the night.
    • Sex differences (Psychology) in literature.
    • Psychic trauma in literature.
    • World War, 1914-1918 -- United States -- Literature and the war.
      This paper examines how the era between the world wars also produced conditions for a traumatization of gender. Judith Butler's concept of performative gender and Cathy Caruth's work on trauma provide the concepts needed to interrogate the psychological connections between gender and trauma. This connection also manifests itself physically, written on the body itself through illness or decline; the psychological becomes physical, negating any notion of a mind-body split. These relationships between gender and trauma, trauma and performative gender, and trauma and the body, are teased out through an examination of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1934 novel, Tender Is the Night, Fitzgerald's most conspicuously modernist work. Frequently read as a parable of moral decline, Tender Is the Night shows how trauma disrupts gender performance and arises from it, exposing the artifice of gender in the postwar world.
      Fitzgerald, F. Scott / gender / performativity / Tender Is the Night / trauma / World War I
    Stevens, Sarah E.
  • Figuring Modernity: The New Woman and the Modern Girl in Republican China
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    Subject Headings:
    • Women -- China -- Social conditions -- 1912-1949.
    • China -- Civilization -- 1912-1949.
    • Feminism and literature -- China -- History -- Republic, 1912-1949.
      This paper examines the cultural figures of the New Woman and the Modern Girl in Republican China (1911-1949). In addition to reflecting the anxieties arising from a changing gender ideology, these contending images reveal anxieties associated with the concept of modernity and the modern nation project. The New Woman represents a positive view of linear modernity and hopes for a strong future China. The Modern Girl manifests in two distinct ways: as a self-absorbed woman searching for subjectivity and as a dangerous femme fatale who devours the urban male. Both of these manifestations reveal deep anxieties over the alienation and loss that accompany modernity. Literary works by Ding Ling, Mao Dun, Shi Zhecun, and others reveal that the figures of the New Woman and the Modern Girl cross political and canonical lines. They can best be distinguished by their use in depicting the hopes, fears, pleasures, and dangers of modernity.
      China / gender / literature / Modern Girl / modernity / New Woman / subjectivity
    Veselá, Pavla.
  • The Hardening of Cement: Russian Women and Modernization
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gladkov, Fedor, 1883-1958. TSement.
    • Feminism in literature.
    • Socialism in literature.
    • Russian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
      The following paper analyzes changes in Soviet gender politics of the 1920s and 1930s. It starts with a general discussion of the relationship between Marxism and feminism, emphasizing issues especially relevant in the Soviet context. The second focus of the article is Fedor Gladkov's Cement, a novel originally written between 1922 and 1924 but reworked several times during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as the official policy on women was changing. By sketching out the differences between the first and later version of Cement, the author shows how Stalinism emerged also as a response to the 1920s inability to deal with undermined traditional gender relations (and not just as a result of Stalin's consolidation of power). Consequently, it seems, all projects that aim to construct a "better society" must start with an analysis of sexual difference and desire.
      feminism / Gladkov, Fedor / Marxism / modernism / Soviet Union
    MacKay, Marina.
  • The Lunacy of Men, the Idiocy of Women: Woolf, West, and War
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    Subject Headings:
    • West, Rebecca, Dame, 1892- Return of the soldier.
    • Woolf, Virginia, 1882-1941. Jacob's room.
    • Man-woman relationships in literature.
    • Masculinity in literature.
    • World War, 1914-1918 -- England -- Literature and the war.
      This essay argues that the parallel careers of Rebecca West and Virginia Woolf illuminate the extent to which modernist women writers came to identify the centrality of feminist consciousness in an understanding of public violence. In their fictional representations of World War I, West's The Return of the Soldier (1918) and Woolf's Jacob's Room (1922), both authors use narrative indirections to diagnose the two problems of patriarchal culture: that it glorifies militaristic and materialistic models of masculinity (what West calls "lunacy"), and that it renders women complicit in male violence (the corresponding "idiocy"). Almost two decades later, they address World War II in their non-fiction: Woolf's pacifist polemic Three Guineas (1938) and West's hybrid travelogue Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941). With a conscious self-referentiality, these two later works posit women's writing as the only antidote to the apparently interminable public violence of men and to the deceptions of women's attempts at private disengagement.
      Black Lamb, Grey Falcon / modernism / Three Guineas / war / West, Rebecca / Woolf, Virginia


    White, Jenny B. (Jenny Barbara), 1953-
  • State Feminism, Modernization, and the Turkish Republican Woman
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    Subject Headings:
    • Women -- Government policy -- Turkey -- History -- 20th century.
    • Feminism -- Turkey -- History -- 20th century.
    • Women's rights -- Turkey -- History -- 20th century.
    • Turkey -- Civilization -- Western influences.


    McFadden, Margaret.
  • Hella Wuolijoki's "Pipe Dreams," Finland to Russia, 1917
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    Subject Headings:
    • Wuolijoki, Hella, 1886-1954 -- Correspondence.
    • Sayer, Murray -- Correspondence.
    • Businesswomen -- Finland -- History -- 20th century.

Review Essays

    Scott, Bonnie Kime, 1944-
  • Feminist Relocations of Gender and Modernism: A Review Essay
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    Subject Headings:
    • Rado, Lisa, ed. Modernism, gender, and culture: a cultural studies approach.
    • Gambrell, Alice. Women intellectuals, modernism and difference: transatlantic culture 1919-1945.
    • Friedman, Susan Stanford. Mappings: feminism and the cultural geographies of encounter.
    • Armstrong, Tim, 1956- Modernism, technology and the body: a cultural study.
    • Lyon, Janet. Manifestoes: provocations of the modern.
    • DuPlessis, Rachel Blau. Genders, races and religious cultures in modern American poetries, 1908-1934.
    • Scandura, Jani, ed. Modernism, Inc.: body, memory, capital.
    • Thurston, Michael, 1965-, ed.
    • Sex role.
    • Modernism (Literature)
    Charles, Anne.
  • A Broader View of Modernism
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    Subject Headings:
    • Scura, Dorothy McInnis, ed. Evelyn Scott: recovering a lost modernist.
    • Jones, Paul C., 1969-, ed.
    • Francis, Elizabeth, 1959 Nov. 24- Secret treachery of words: feminism and modernism in America.
    • Herrmann, Anne. Queering the moderns: poses/portraits/performances.
    • Wachman, Gay, 1943- Lesbian empire: radical crosswriting in the Twenties.
    • Pawlowski, Merry M., 1945-, ed. Virginia Woolf and fascism: resisting the dictators' seduction.
    • Scott, Evelyn, 1893- -- Criticism and interpretation.
    • Feminism -- United States.

Book Reviews

    Borwick, Susan.
  • Reclaiming Gender in Modernist Music
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    Subject Headings:
    • Citron, Marcia J. Gender and the musical canon.
    • McClary, Susan. Feminine endings: music, gender, and sexuality.
    • Solie, Ruth A., ed. Musicology and difference: gender and sexuality in music scholarship.
    • McClary, Susan. Conventional wisdom: the content of musical form.
    • Cook, Susan C., ed. Cecilia reclaimed: feminist perspectives on gender and music.
    • Tsou, Judy S., ed.
    • Hisama, Ellie M. Gendering musical modernism: the music of Ruth Crawford, Marion Bauer, and Miriam Gideon.
    • Musical canon.
    • Feminism and music.
    Moran, Patricia (Patricia L.)
  • Women's Writing on the First World War, and: Nurses at the Front: Writing the Wounds of the Great War, and: The Second Battlefield: Women, Modernism, and the First World War, and: French Women and the First World War: War Stories of the Home Front (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Cardinal, Agnes, ed. Women's writing on the First World War.
    • Goldman, Dorothy, ed.
    • Hattaway, Judith, ed.
    • Higonnet, Margaret R., ed. Nurses at the front: writing the wounds of the Great War.
    • Smith, Angela K. Second battlefield: women, modernism, and the First World War.
    • Darrow, Margaret H., 1950- French women and the First World War: war stories of the home front.
    • World War, 1914-1918 -- Literary collections.
    • La Motte, Ellen Newbold, 1873-1961.
    McCarthy, Margaret, 1963-
  • Baroness Elsa: Gender, Dada, and Everyday Modernity--A Cultural Biography, and: Gender and Sexuality in Weimar Modernity: Film, Literature, and "New Objectivity" (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Gammel, Irene, 1959- Baroness Elsa: gender, dada, and everyday modernity--a cultural biography.
    • McCormick, Richard W., 1951- Gender and sexuality in Weimar modernity: film, literature, and "new objectivity".
    • Freytag-Loringhoven, Elsa von, 1874-1927.
    • Motion pictures -- Germany -- History.
    Onslow, Barbara, 1937-
  • The Diaries of Beatrice Webb, and: Daisy Princess of Pless, (1873-1943): A Discovery, and: Vera Brittain: A Life (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Webb, Beatrice Potter, 1858-1943. Diaries of Beatrice Webb.
    • MacKenzie, Norman Ian, ed.
    • MacKenzie, Jeanne, ed.
    • Knight, Lynn, ed.
    • Koch, W. John. Daisy Princess of Pless, (1873-1943): a discovery.
    • Berry, Paul, 1919- Vera Brittain: a life.
    • Bostridge, Mark.
    • Webb, Beatrice Potter, 1858-1943 -- Diaries.
    • Pless, Daisy, Fürstin von, 1873-1943.
    Horowitz, Rosemary.
  • Female, Jewish, and Educated: The Lives of Central European University Women (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Freidenreich, Harriet Pass, 1947- Female, Jewish, and educated: the lives of Central European university women.
    • Jewish women -- Germany -- Biography.
    Hoder-Salmon, Marilyn, 1934-
  • Women, Modernism and British Poetry, 1910-1939: Resisting Femininity, and: Women Poets on the Left: Lois Ridge, Genevieve Taggard, Margaret Walker (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Dowson, Jane, 1955- Women, modernism and British poetry, 1910-1939: resisting femininity.
    • Berke, Nancy, 1956- Women poets on the left: Lois Ridge, Genevieve Taggard, Margaret Walker.
    • English poetry -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
    • Political poetry, American -- History and criticism.
    Martin, Dorothea A. L., 1946-
  • Choosing Revolution: Chinese Women Soldiers on the Long March (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Young, Helen Praeger, 1932- Choosing revolution: Chinese women soldiers on the Long March.
    • China -- History -- Long March, 1934-1935.
    Warren, Catherine A.
  • The Girl on the Magazine Cover: The Origins of Visual Stereotypes in American Mass Media, and: Nell Brinkley and the New Woman in the Early Twentieth Century (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Kitch, Carolyn L. Girl on the magazine cover: the origins of visual stereotypes in American mass media.
    • Robbins, Trina. Nell Brinkley and the new woman in the early twentieth century.
    • Women in mass media -- History.
    • Brinkley, Nell, 1886-1944.
    McGuire, Julie.
  • A Bloomsbury Canvas: Reflections on the Bloomsbury Group (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bradshaw, Tony, ed. Bloomsbury canvas: reflections on the Bloomsbury group.
    • Bloomsbury group.


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