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Threshold Modernism reveals how changing ideas about gender and race in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain shaped - and were shaped by - London and its literature. Chapters address key sites, especially department stores, women's clubs, and city streets, that coevolved with controversial types of modern women. Interweaving cultural history, narrative theory, close reading, and spatial analysis, Threshold Modernism considers canonical figures such as George Gissing, Henry James, Dorothy Richardson, H. G. Wells, and Virginia Woolf alongside understudied British and colonial writers including Amy Levy, B. M. Malabari, A. B. C. Merriman-Labor, Duse Mohamed Ali, and Una Marson. Evans argues that these diverse authors employed the 'new public women' and their associated spaces to grapple with widespread cultural change and reflect on the struggle to describe new subjects, experiences, and ways of seeing in appropriately novel ways. For colonial writers of color, those women and spaces provided a means through which to claim their own places in imperial London.Read more
- Proposes a new way to understand the relationship between modernity and modernism
- Examines diverse primary texts, including high modernist and popular fiction, journalism and advertisements, unpublished playscripts, travelogues and London guides
- Demonstrates how mapping the real locations of a fictional text can produce new insights
- Brings to light little-known works by colonial authors of color
Reviews & endorsements
'The book’s arguments are clear and forceful. The recovery of reverse imperial ethnography adds historical depth to treatments of race in London that too often begin with materials published after the Second World War. The book will be of interest to a wide variety of readers, from academic specialists in modernism, British literature, women’s literature, and postcolonial literature and to advanced students in courses on British modernism, literature and the city, and women’s writing.' Michael Thurston, Smith College, MassachusettsSee more reviews
'This is a well-conceived and deftly executed analysis of women’s changing position in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century London, as represented in a wide range of literary texts. It offers useful new methodologies for literary study, drawing particularly on new scholarly approaches in feminist geography and digital humanities, and is fresh and original in its insights.' Lise Sanders, Hampshire College, Massachusetts
'Everyone loves a book with maps. Evans has mapped out sites of narrative significance in Henry James' The Princess Casamassima, Amy Levy's The Romance of a Shop, George Gissing's The Odd Women, H. G. Wells' Ann Veronica and Virginia Woolf's Night and Day.' Rebecca Bowler, Times Higher Education
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- Date Published: January 2019
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781108479813
- dimensions: 235 x 157 x 17 mm
- weight: 0.58kg
- contains: 11 b/w illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: London, 1880–1940: Liminal Sites and Contested Identities
1. Modern sites for modern types: locating the new public woman
2. Shops and shop girls: the modern shop, 'counter-jumpers', and the shopgirl's narrative evolution
3. Streets and the woman walker: when 'street love' meets Flânerie
4. Women's clubs and clubwomen: 'neutral territory', feminist heterotopia, and failed 'diplomacy'
5. New public women through colonial eyes: reverse imperial ethnography
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