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Women Making Modernism$
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Erica Gene Delsandro

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066172

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066172.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Writing Modernist Women

Writing Modernist Women

Toward a Poetics of Insubstantiality

(p.19) 1 Writing Modernist Women
Women Making Modernism

Emily Ridge

University Press of Florida

“Writing Modernist Women: Toward a Poetics of Insubstantiality” traces the development of a “poetics of insubstantiality” across the works of a range of early twentieth-century women writers, including May Sinclair, Dorothy Richardson, Virginia Woolf, Cicely Hamilton, and Edith Wharton, among others. Such a poetics saw a subversive turn towards elements deemed insubstantial, in terms of size and weight, as a means of questioning an established connection of value with the idea of substance. Thus smallness, lightness, and portability are embraced for their dynamic potential in offering an alternative means of engaging with and imagining the world. In demonstrating the dynamic potential of the insubstantial, as conceived by these modernist writers, the chapter builds on recent endeavours, spearheaded by Paul K. Saint-Amour (2018), to conceive of a “weak” modernism, in which “one kind of weakness […] produce[s] another kind of strength.” Likewise, a lack of substance, often even of tangibility, can be found to produce another kind of value in the works I consider here.

Keywords:   modernism, portability, value, weak modernism, Virginia Woolf, Paul K. Saint-Amour, May Sinclair, Dorothy Richardson, Cicely Hamilton, Edith Wharton

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