The Modern Woman Revisited: Paris Between the Wars

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Overview

The contributions of female artists to the development of literary and artistic modernism in early twentieth century France remain poorly understood. It was during this period that a so-called “modern woman” began occupying urban spaces associated with the development of modern art and modernism’s struggles to define subjectivities and sexualities.  Whereas most studies of modernism’s formal innovations and its encouragement of artistic autonomy neglect or omit necessary discussions of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation, the contributors of The Modern Woman Revisited inject these perspectives into the discussion.  

Between the two World Wars, Paris served as the setting for unparalleled freedom for expatriate as well as native-born French women, who enjoyed unprecedented access to education and opportunities to participate in public artistic and intellectual life. Many of these women made lasting contributions in art and literature.  Some of the artists discussed include Colette, Tamara de Lempicka, Sonia Delaunay, Djuna Barnes, Augusta Savage, and Lee Miller.

In this book, an internationally recognized roster of art historians, literary critics, and other scholars offers a nuanced portrait of what it meant to be a modern woman during this decisive period of modernism’s development. Individual essays explore the challenges faced by women in the early decades of the twentieth century, as well as the strategies these women deployed to create their art and to build meaningful lives and careers. The introduction underscores the importance of the contributors’ efforts to engender larger questions about modernity, sexuality, race, and class.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813532929
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,356,772
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Becoming Modern: Gender and Sexual Identity after World War I 3
2 Gender, Race, and Miscegenation: African Americans in Jazz Age Paris 21
3 Deconsecrating Modernism: Allegories of Regeneration in Brooks and Picasso 35
4 "Never Admit!": Colette and the Freedom of Paradox 55
5 Samson and Delilah Revisited: The Politics of Fashion in 1920s France 65
6 Painting the Perverse: Tamara de Lempicka and the Modern Woman Artist 95
7 Sonia Delaunay's Simulataneous Fashions and the Modern Woman 109
8 Looking Like a Lesbian: Portraiture and Sexual Identity in 1920s Paris 127
9 Djuna Barnes: Looking Like a Lesbian/Poet 145
10 Singular Plural: Collaborative Self-Images in Claude Cahun's Aveux non avenus 155
11 Something Hidden, Secret, and Eternal": Romaine Brooks, Radclyffe Hall, and the Lesbian Image in The Forge 169
12 Modern Dancers and African Amazons: Augusta Savage's Sculptures of Women, 1929-1930 183
13 Lee Miller's Two Bodies 199
14 "Le Numero Barbette": Photography and the Politics of Embodiment in Interwar Paris 223
App The Napoleonic Civil Code of 1804 237
Bibliography 241
Notes on Contributors 249
Index 251
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