Middlebrow Moderns: Popular American Women Writers of the 1920s

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Critics often define the modernist period as the dichotomy between the high culture of edgy literary experimentation and the low culture of dime store novels, gritty detective stories, and other genre fiction, dismissing the significant group of American women writers who negotiated the delicate balance between critical and commercial success. Burdened with the derogatory label "middlebrow" by the literary elite, these authors of popular fiction nevertheless wrote scores of bestsellers, won awards, and had their ...
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2003 SOFTCOVER Brand new. [I will ship immediately] Book in great condition: no markings, slightly worn covers and edges, nice binding.

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2003 Trade paperback New. No dust jacket as issued. Excellent. Brand New, Perfect Condition. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 288 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. "Middlebrow" was a derogatory term used by the literary elite to scorn authors of popular fiction--that ironically won awards, became bestsellers and were adapted for Hollywood films. This book looks at a diverse group of women writers previously unexplored who worked in a broad range of media, magazines, literature, radio, film, essay, and so on. The authors include Winnifred Easton, Jessie Redmond Fauset, Edna Ferber, Dorothy Canfield Fisher and others. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Critics often define the modernist period as the dichotomy between the high culture of edgy literary experimentation and the low culture of dime store novels, gritty detective stories, and other genre fiction, dismissing the significant group of American women writers who negotiated the delicate balance between critical and commercial success. Burdened with the derogatory label "middlebrow" by the literary elite, these authors of popular fiction nevertheless wrote scores of bestsellers, won awards, and had their works adapted into major Hollywood films.The unique contribution of these "middlebrow moderns" to early twentieth-century culture is now explored in this pathbreaking collection of original articles. Examining women writers from diverse backgrounds and works from a broad range of media, including literature, magazines, book clubs, advertising, radio, and film, the essayists show how authors such as Winnifred Easton, Jessie Redmon Fauset, Nella Larsen, Anita Loos, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Edna Ferber, and Fannie Hurst bridged gaps in an audience increasingly fragmented by economic, racial, ethnic, and regional differences. A valuable addition to American literary studies, cultural studies, and women's history, ‘Middlebrow Moderns' also illuminates today's gendered culture wars.

Author Biography: Lisa Botshon is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Maine. She lives in Brunswick, Maine. Meredith Goldsmith is Assistant Professor of English at Whitman College. She lives in Walla Walla, Washington. Joan Shelly Rubin is Professor of History at the University of Rochester.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781555535568
  • Publisher: Northeastern University Press
  • Publication date: 5/22/2003
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Foreword
Introduction 3
"Written with a Hard and Ruthless Purpose": Rose Wilder Lane, Edna Ferber, and Middlebrow Regional Fiction 25
The Cosmopolitan Regionalism of Zona Gale's Friendship Village 45
Winnifred Eaton's "Japanese" Novels as a Field Experiment 65
Feminist New Woman Fiction in Periodicals of the 1920s 87
Progressive Middlebrow: Dorothy Canfield, Women's Magazines, and Popular Feminism in the Twenties 111
"Lost Among the Ads": Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and the Politics of Imitation 135
Edna Ferber's Cimarron, Cultural Authority, and 1920s Western Historical Narratives 167
Anzia Yezierska and the Marketing of the Jewish Immigrant in 1920s Hollywood 203
"An Unwonted Coquetry": The Commercial Seductions of Jessie Fauset's The Chinaberry Tree 227
The Wages of Virtue: Consumerism and Glass Formation in Fannie Hurst's Back Street 245
Shopping to Pass, Passing to Shop: Consumer Self-Fashioning in the Fiction of Nella Larsen 263
Notes on Contributors 291
Index 295
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