Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of English
Immersed in a web of short stories, poetry, and supporting biographical and life-writing sources, I investigate the narrative significance beneath and beyond two British and American modernist women authors. I evaluate sisterly connectedness between their literary production, publishing histories and life writings present in a specific cultural-temporal moment and genre: the short story. By looking on these unique, forgotten fictions through a new materialist lens, I argue for their short fiction's greater inclusion in the canon of women's modernism. Chapter I tests correlations between two authors undergoing the same stresses, alienations, joys and desires by taking up tenants of material theory in that exploration. Chapter 2 explores a space of cultural and literary incubation in Butts's writings. The natural, supernatural, abstract and material selves presented in Butts's short stories are always liminal. In Chapter 3, Barnes's enmeshment with Hank O'Neal and her magazine fiction is connected across decades. Barnes works within a genre of fiction while still redefining and undermining it principles, illuminating the way gendered modernism has potential for new, inclusive meanings. If modernist writing asks us to read through and around content, to the unique and evolving writer's subjectivity at the center, Butts and Barnes were a few of the first women modernists to attempt it.
George, Susan, "An Uncommon Splice: Seeking Mutations in the Life-Writing and Short Fiction of Mary Butts and Djuna Barnes" (2013). Theses and Dissertations. 282.