Until about 1986, feminists generally considered modernism a
reactionary, misogynist, and hegemonic mire not worth
investigating. Since then enough studies of modernism have appeared
that 17 feminist critics can now review and debate their treatment
of the period. They evaluate the progress and goals of the new era
of modernist scholarship.
As the authors in this volume suggest, instead of condemning
writers for not practicing or portraying an acceptable politics of
gender, we ought instead to show how their assumptions about the
nature of the sexes inform their texts, both in their creation and
in their reception. This also allows examination of the complex and
changing relationship between human subjectivity and
This volume is a highly reflective dialogue, introspective and
evaluative, at a moment of crisis within modernist studies and
feminist studies. The analysis of critical work on
early-twentieth-century literature not only helps reread and
redefine a definition of modernism; it also intends to redirect and
reintegrate feminist theory.
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