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Difficult Women: Stein, Loy, Riding, Moore, H.D.

ENGL 589.401
instructor(s):
M 12-3

 

Two preliminary frames, one primarily literary, the other social: 1) a brief look at "The Men of 1914" (Eliot, Pound, Joyce, and Lewis) to scan for their fashion tips on the latest in masculine taste, with special emphasis on the distaste expressed for Lil's excessive fertility in "A Game of Chess" in *The Waste Land*; and 2) a quick account of Margaret Sanger's crusade for birth control, focusing on her varying strategies of public address. With these matters on the table, we will then look at the writing and the public (and in some cases, not-so-public) careers of H.D., Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Laura Riding (and her later incarnation as Laura Riding Jackson), and Gertrude Stein. The fascinating and instructive difficulties of these five writers will not coalesce into a coherent paradigm opposing the masculinist proclivities of Pound, Eliot, et al., nor will they display all that many similarities in relation to the various agitations for women's rights that were occurring around them. But their different oeuvres were literary and cultural interventions that retain their power.

For the first class, please read *The Waste Land*, as well as the pieces (Pound's "The Hard and the Soft in French Poetry" among other things) that I will post on the class Blackboard site.