Challenging monolithic images of the New Woman as white, well-educated, and politically progressive, this study focuses on important regional, ethnic, and sociopolitical differences in the use of the New Woman trope at the turn of the twentieth century. Using Charles Dana Gibson's \u0022Gibson Girls\u0022 as a point of departure, Martha H. Patterson explores how writers such as Pauline Hopkins, Margaret Murray Washington, Sui Sin Far, Mary Johnston, Edith Wharton, Ellen Glasgow, and Willa Cather challenged and redeployed the New Woman image in light of other \u0022new\u0022 conceptions: the \u0022New Negro Woman,\u0022 the \u0022New Ethics,\u0022 the \u0022New South,\u0022 and the \u0022New China.\u0022 As she appears in these writers' works, the New Woman both promises and threatens to effect sociopolitical change as a consumer, an instigator of evolutionary and economic development, and, for writers of color, an icon of successful assimilation into dominant Anglo-American culture.
Examining a diverse array of cultural products, Patterson shows how the seemingly celebratory term of the New Woman becomes a trope not only of progressive reform, consumer power, transgressive femininity, modern energy, and modern cure, but also of racial and ethnic taxonomies, social Darwinist struggle, imperialist ambition, assimilationist pressures, and modern decay.
Buy Beyond the Gibson Girl book by Martha H. Patterson from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(5969mm x 3963mm x 458mm)
University of Illinois Press
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
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Author Biography - Martha H. Patterson
Martha H. Patterson is an associate professor of English at McKendree University, Lebanon, Illinois.