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BOOK REVIEWS to do with the hypocrisy and fears of the period than with the innate needs of girl readers. However, the hypothesis that New Woman authors, encouraged by publishers anxious to exploit new markets, wrote to construct the independent Modern Girl, and that the girls who read this literature then courageously risked Hollo way prison, munitions factories, and the battle-fields of Belgium, Serbia and Russia, is a hypothesis well worth exploring. It may—as Ros Ballaster warns us—be hazardous to try to define exactly what pleasures they gained from their reading, but there are still various new pleasures to be gained by contemporary readers from the material Mitchell has assembled. Her discussions of it will,as I have shown, provoke debate. Claire M. Tylee _______________ Brunei University Women, Modernism & Postmodernism Bonnie Kime Scott. Refiguring Modernism Volume 1: The Women of 1928. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. xlii + 318 pp. Cloth $38.95 Paper $18.95 Bonnie Kime Scott. Refiguring Modernism Volume 2: Postmodern Feminist Readings of Woolf, West, and Barnes. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. xviii + 217 pp. Cloth $34.95 Paper $15.95 THE IMAGES of the web and the scaffolding operate as key figures in Bonnie Kime Scott's revisionist study, Refiguring Modernism. Scott associates the figure of the web with the woman writer (the spider, or weaver), who uses existing structures but accomplishes her own aesthetic vision through a textual bricolage. The scaffolding image derives from male modernist articulations of control, order, and structure . Scott, while keeping these terms separate, carefully prevents them from becoming binary opposites, instead seeing the "web in the scaffolding ." She frames her study as a "radical comparativism," providing cultural contexts for the writers she associates with each figure. Webs use scaffolding in unconventional and innovative ways; as Scott puts it, "There are possibilities of contention and destruction between these figures. But the spider is more concerned with her own design than with the planned uses of scaffolding. Her actions of repeatedly attaching, launching out into the unknown, and landing for the next anchoring point suggest polyvalence, polyphony, independence, and the inclination and ability to make selective use of existing structures or to 221 ELT 40:2 1997 seek new ones—not all of them manmade." Webs use man-made structures (buildings, scaffolds) to build improvised connections; webs create relationships, connoting female agency. Scott's refiguration of modernism through the web in the scaffolding shapes a new modernist aesthetic by considering experimentation, metaphor, and political engagement through writing. The web also figures Scott's critical method. She portrays her three focal writers as fully embedded in their particular historical environments , making connections and reactions based on their positions in that world. Scott's current study results from her editorial work on The Gender of Modernism: A Critical Anthology (1990), during which she created a diagram (or "web") of the interconnections and relationships between various modernist writers, male and female. Tallying the connections, she found that modernist women writers' creative attachments to other writers and artists compared well with those of modernist men; the active Ezra Pound had fifteen, while Virginia Woolf had thirteen, Rebecca West ten and Djuna Barnes nine. Scott explains the emergence of this study: ". . . the web of The Gender of Modernism showed a more diversely energized modernist field than I had known previously, with a lot more important players. I saw the need to look more deeply into the nature of these attachments." This deeper look focuses on the various texts, writing styles, politics, and feminisms of Woolf, West, and Barnes. The two-volume format reflects Scott's revisionist critical approach as well as her own employment of the web and scaffold metaphors. Volume One, The Women of 1928, spreads the web, stressing contexts and relationships above literary analysis and interpretation. Scott uses a variety of materials: novels, essays, interviews, journalistic texts, book reviews, diaries (Woolfs especially), letters, manuscripts, stories, unpublished material, photographs, and drawings (both volumes contain photographs and illustrations). All of these materials contribute to Scott's image of a web of attachments: literature being created in direct response to other writers, to the events of history, to the everyday lives of writers actively engaged...


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pp. 221-225
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Will Be Archived 2021
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