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Date of Award
Dissertation-ISU Access Only
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of English
Hilary K. Justice
This dissertation reinscribes the literary histories of Modernist Paris by locating specific contributions of material labor, gendered materialism, and economics in the lives and works of Sylvia Beach and Natalie Barney, as well as particular employments of lesbian discourse in Gertrude Stein's poetry. Chapter One outlines my research problems and questions for study, including the ways in which previous literary histories largely overlooked the economic and material conditions of expatriate female modernists. Chapter Two is a pedagogical exploration of how to incorporate the expatriate women of interwar Paris into contemporary classrooms where the male-based canon so often prevails. Included is a review of literature surrounding my pedagogy and research topics. Chapter Three focuses on the financial and material conditions that influenced the personal lives and professional work of Beach and Barney. Here I solidify the economic conditions of Beach and Barney to reposition them individually as power holders among their modernist communities and to approach the material conditions of their work. The focus of inquiry on Beach is her work as bookshop proprietress, literary community organizer, and publisher. Concerning Barney, I examine her work as a constructor and socio-economic supporter of women's artistic and cultural communities. I also examine how issues of sexuality affected both women on material levels. Chapter Four focuses solely on Gertrude Stein and examines her educational backgrounds as foundations for her textual work and traces her writing development across several decades. Most specifically, I focus on her employment of specific linguistic, semantic, material, and cognitive markers to engage with a lesbian discourse within four of her poems: Stanzas in Meditation, "Lifting Belly," "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene," and "As a Wife Has a Cow"A Love Story."
Ratliff, Catherine A., "From Footnotes to Focus: Reconceptualizing Modernist Culture through the Labor, Gendered Materialism, Economics, and Lesbian Discourse of Sylvia Beach, Natalie Barney, and Gertrude Stein" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 463.