Representations of war and trauma in embodied modernist literature : the identity politics of Amy Lowell, Djuna Barnes, H.D., and Gertrude Stein

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dc.contributor.advisor Mix, Deborah M. en_US Goodspeed-Chadwick, Julie Elaine en_US 2011-06-03T19:26:03Z 2011-06-03T19:26:03Z 2007 en_US 2007
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 2007 .G66 en_US
dc.description.abstract This study situates the literary works of Amy Lowell, Djuna Barnes, H.D., and Gertrude Stein in a genealogy of American modernist war writing by women that disrupts and revises patriarchal war narrative. These authors take ownership of war and war-related trauma as subjects for women writers. Combining the theories of Dominick LaCapra, Judith Butler, Elaine Scarry, and Elizabeth Grosz with close readings of primary texts, I offer feminist analyses that account for trauma and real-world materiality in literary representations of female embodiment in wartime. This framework enables an interdisciplinary discussion that focuses on representations of war and trauma in conjunction with identity politics.I examine Lowell's poetry collection Men, Women and Ghosts (1916), Barnes's novel Nightwood (1936), H.D.'s poem Trilogy (1944-1946), and Stein's novel Mrs. Reynolds (1952). The chapters highlight the progressively feminist and personal ownership of war and trauma embedded in the texts. Lowell and Barnes begin the work of deconstructing gendered binary constructions and inserting women into war narrative, and H.D. and Stein continue this trajectory through cultivation of more pronounced depictions of women and their bodies in war narrative.The strategies are distinct and specific to each author, but there are common characteristics in their literary responses to World War I and World War II. Each author protests war: war is destructive for Lowell, perverse for Barnes, traumatic for H.D., and disruptive for Stein. Additionally, each author renders female bodies as sites of contested identity and as markers of presence in war narrative. The female bodies portrayed are often traumatized and marked by the ravages of war: bodily injury and psychological and emotional distress. H.D. and Stein envision strategies for resolving (if only partially) trauma, but Lowell and Barnes do not.This project recovers alternative war narratives by important American modernist women writers, expands the definition and canon of war literature, contributes new scholarship on works by the selected authors, and constructs an original critical framework. The ramifications of this study are an increased awareness of who was writing about war and the shape that responses to it took in avant-garde literature of the early twentieth century. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent viii, 262 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh War in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Human body in literature. en_US
dc.subject.other Lowell, Amy, 1874-1925. Men, women, and ghosts. en_US
dc.subject.other Barnes, Djuna. Nightwood. en_US
dc.subject.other H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), 1886-1961. Trilogy. en_US
dc.subject.other Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946. Mrs. Reynolds and five earlier novelettes. en_US
dc.title Representations of war and trauma in embodied modernist literature : the identity politics of Amy Lowell, Djuna Barnes, H.D., and Gertrude Stein en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3194]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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