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Description - H.D. and the Public Sphere of Modernist Women Writers 1913-1946 by Georgina Taylor

This book locates H.D. within an Anglo-American 'public sphere' of women writers, a discursive arena in which individuals come together in debate and discussion. The theoretical framework used is that outlined in Jurgen Habermas's The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, modified in order to consider this group as a 'counter-public sphere', a non-dominant group whose interests were non-identical to those of the dominant public sphere. From 1913 a network of little magazines enabled women writers to come together in unprecedented numbers in public exchange. The ethos of this public sphere was a challenge to all convention, including challenges to the perceived sentimentality of earlier women's writing; H.D.'s Imagism was crucial in this. Initially this public sphere avoided engagement with the wider socio-political world, focusing instead on psychic reality. Writing became increasingly experimental in a new wave of avant-garde activity, fuelling heated debate in the magazines around the nature of 'literature'. By the mid 1920s this particular literary sphere had lost direction, but continued to experiment and seek new ways forward. New discussions around cinematic forms (in which H.D. participated) kept critical discussion very much alive. In the 1930s the work emerging from this network was increasingly politically aware. This was a period of highly disturbed writing such as H.D.'s Nights and Djuna Barnes's Nightwood, internalizations of the sadomasochism enacted on the world stage. After the war, this public sphere declined into personal exchanges in letters and private circulation of manuscripts.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780198187134
ISBN-10: 0198187130
Format: Hardback
(225mm x 146mm x 17mm)
Pages: 240
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 31-May-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Georgina Taylor

Georgina Taylor is English teacher, St Bartholomew's School, Newbury

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