Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life offers a bold new assessment of the role of the domestic sphere in modernist literature, architecture, and design. Elegantly synthesizing modernist literature with architectural plans, room designs, and decorative art, Victoria Rosner's work explores the collaborations among modern British writers, interior designers, and architects in redefining the form, function, and meaning of middle-class private life. Drawing on a host of previously unexamined archival sources and works by figures such as E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Oscar Wilde, James McNeill Whistler, and Virginia Woolf, Rosner highlights the participation of modernist literature in the creation of an experimental, embodied, and unstructured private life, which we continue to characterize as "modern."
About the Author
Victoria Rosner is an associate professor of English at Texas A & M University.
Victoria Rosner is an assistant professor of English at Texas A&M. She has received the Feminist Studies writing prize and a Mellon fellowship. She was a contributor to Doan and Prosser's Palatable Poison (CUP, 2001).
Table of Contents
1. Kitchen Table Modernism
What People are Saying About This
Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life, Victoria Rosner's new study of the shaping role played by interior design in the evolution of literary modernism, is a book of enormous interest, refinement, and originality. The overarching subjectthe relation between psychic life and private spaceis a profound one; the treatment of individual authorsWilde, Woolf, Strachey, Forsterfull of insight. It reminds one in a way of one of those stylish Omega Workshop textiles Rosner describes so well-being colorful, refreshing, and immediately engaging, but also wrought with intelligen ce and wit. A superb book on the history of modernism in Britain between the wars.
This highly original and engrossing study of the interplay between modernist writers from Wilde to Woolf and the idea and practice of the modernist interior not only reveals aspects of modernism generally hidden by the more universalist and masculinist ideologies of the Modernist Movement after Le Courbusier, but also demonstrates the powerful role of space and design in the formation of modernist literary forms and themes. Most importantly, Rosner does not simply describe interiors, and recount their description in literarture, but rather investigates the social, cultural, and psychological roots of both. The result is a profound reinterpretation of modernism on all fornts, in all its gendered and spatial complexity.
Rosner's analysis is multilayered and complex but readable and always interesting. Her juxtaposition of elements that other scholars have not previously brought together, her ability to intelligently illuminate important pieces of the texts she employs, and her skillful choice of a small number of appropriate illustrations combine to make this book far more than a comparison of interior architecture and literature.