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Mina Loy and the myth of the modern woman.

Parmar, S.; (2008) Mina Loy and the myth of the modern woman. Doctoral thesis , University of London. Green open access

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Abstract

This study examines Mina Loy's unpublished autobiographical writings and challenges the existing critical myth of Loy as the 'modern woman'. Between 1920 and the late 1940s Loy wrote four overlapping versions of her autobiography: 'The Child and the Parent', 'Goy Israels', 'Islands in the Air' and 'Insel'. This study develops a chronology for Loy's autobiographies and it examines each version's engagement with constructs of the 'modern' and of the 'modern writer'. Since the 1980s scholars have primarily focused on the 'modernist' techniques Loy employed in her early poetry. Often these critical surveys exclude texts that cannot be grouped under the heading 'modernism' in order to justify Loy's inclusion within the movement. Her poetry and her autobiographies written after the late 1920s suggest a shift in her aesthetics away from her earlier 'modernist' work. Till now her prose and her poetry written after 1925, about two-thirds of her total output, have been excluded from critical evaluations of her writing. Through readings of Loy's unpublished autobiographical manuscripts alongside her later, neglected poems this analysis argues for a broader and less exclusive understanding of Loy's entire oeuvre. In particular, it will address Loy's belief in modernism's 'prophetic' potential and how this relates to her autobiographical writings on consciousness and on loss. The study begins with a discussion of 'modernism', 'modernity' and the 'modern', and charts how these terms are defined in Loy's own essays on literature and art. It also examines Loy's depictions of Victorian femininity in the context of constructions, then and more recently, of the fin-de-siecle 'New Woman' and of the twentieth-century 'modern woman'. My analysis considers how Loy arrived at her current status, via editors, critics and her fellow poets. Ultimately I argue that Loy's autobiographies portray the inability of 'modernity' to exclude the past.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Mina Loy and the myth of the modern woman.
Identifier: PQ ETD:591326
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1444035
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