Mina Loy: The Transcendent Feminist Persistence

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Tumblr allows individuals to create a space which is uniquely their own while also allowing for the incorporation of outside influence. I used Tumblr to create a blog, feminaloy.tumblr.com, which conveys how Mina Loy’s understanding of feminism compares to the contemporary viewpoints of feminism today. Contemporary feminism is dependent upon an accepting culture for individuals, especially women, regardless of their choices. In this way, intersectional feminism promotes the belief that individuals should be able to make choices in their own lives and that these choices should be respected. In using a Tumblr blog to explore the differences between Loy’s feminism and contemporary feminism, the project’s form allows Loy to be put in conversation with writers, artists, and scholars across time, including feminist theorists Simone de Beauvoir and Judith Butler.

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This particular form allows viewers to go from an excerpt of Loy’s poetry, to an analysis from Butler theory, to a tweet or a GIF without hesitation, and this unlimited formatting means that readers are able to construct their own links between the posts, developing their own understandings and theories as to how the blog comes together to form one cohesive argument. All posts within the blog are assigned tags to note whether they are original works, excerpts from Loy and theorists, or posts from my research which compliment or complicate Loy’s ideology, all of which can be found by clicking the icon at the top of the screen and entering any of the following tags into the search bar: original, mina loy, feminism, aesthetic, primary, secondary, or anti-loy. This project was inspired originally by Loy’s poem “Parturition” and her Feminist Manifesto as well as by an interest in how Loy’s feminism conformed to Butler and Beauvoir’s feminist theories.

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In the end, this project reflected the modernist desire to subvert traditional representations of femininity as it focuses on how the female body is viewed by others in the world. This project highlights the desire to create a new representation of gender through its emphasis on the evolution of gender expectations and female appreciation and equality. This is accomplished through the original poetry incorporated into the blog, the use of analyses on Loy’s work in relation to Butler and Beauvoir, the use of contemporary sources to explore what feminism means today, and through images of the female body, which depict the female body as a subject of beauty rather than as an object of desire.

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Sources:

Beauvoir, Simone De, and H. M. Parshley. The Second Sex. South Yarra, Vic.: Louis Braille
Productions, 1989. Print.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge,
2006. Print.

Loy, Mina, and Roger L. Conover. The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy. New York:
Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1996. Print.

Modernist Political Parties

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For my creative project I designed a series of three posters for political parties inspired by Modernist movements. Although I had intended to do more, due to time constraints I created only three, inspired by Futurism, Imagism and Dadaism. For each movement I did research on the aesthetics of their visual art and literature, and looked in to explanations of their world view in order to further understand just how they conceived of the modern world.

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Modernist Instagram

Instagram accounts:

the_real_virginiawoolf

ernest.hemingway.andthesea

isaac_rosenberg_

The goal of this project was to examine the lives and works of a few modernist authors in an attempt to investigate their views on the war. In particular, I aimed to discover how these authors believed that social status affected one’s place in, and reaction to, the war. I decided to create Instagram accounts for these authors in order to efficiently illustrate their beliefs in numerous formats. Instagram was a suitable medium, as it allowed for the use of both images and textual information about the authors to be highlighted. It also allowed for the authors to comment on and like each other’s posts.

The authors chosen were Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, and Isaac Rosenberg. These authors were chosen because it is evident that the war was a significant influence in their works. Each of these authors wrote about characters that had a direct experience with the war, as well as characters that were not in the war themselves but still had to deal with its effects on their lives. While all three of these authors emphasized the hardship and emptiness caused by the war, they each had unique views on the effects of gender and social class on the war. It is this difference in views that I aimed to highlight through each of the author’s Instagram accounts.

Here are some screenshots of the accounts:

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A post from Woolf’s ig

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A post from Woolf’s ig

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A post from Hemingway’s ig

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A post from Rosenberg’s ig

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A post from Rosenberg’s ig

-Look these usernames up in Instagram and see the full accounts I made!-

“Making it New” Again

 

For my Modernist literature creative project, I decided, in line with modernism as a whole, to “Make it new”, as Ezra Pound would say. To do this I put together blackout poetry pieces. Blackout poetry is the rearranging and recycling of words to create a new work from a text. The poetry can take the shape of a completely new meaning and it is truly up to interpretation. I thought this would be a very fitting option for a project on modernism. I focused on the works of modernist writer, Virginia Woolf. The question I sought to answer was how was Woolf’s writing affected by society? Did she feel the need to conform or did she rebel from typical expectations.

The idea of society’s effect on a person led me to want to further analyze and study Virginia Woolf’s Mrs.Dalloway, more of her novels and essays, and Virginia Woolf’s life as well. After researching and studying her, I was fascinated and I found connections in many of her pieces to her own life. One of the more obvious connections being the theme of death and suicide in her works and death and suicide in her own life. Virginia Woolf herself ended her own life in 1914. Her life was marked by the significant losses of her parents at a young age and her brother. Their passing triggered many mental health issues throughout Woolf’s life and greatly affected her writing and her own interpretation of society and the world.

Woolf did not give in to what society tried to sell her. She flourished in her unique and independent stylings.Woolf refused to conform to simply fit in her society. This way of living life is admirable and I believe it is what made her such a successful modernist writer. Virginia Woolf was not afraid to rebel and create something strange or never done before. I think that this is true of many Modernist writers; they wanted to create things that would surprise society, not just impress it. Daring to create new things is what defined the Modernist Movement.

Letters From Hugo Ball

 

20 November 1978. Berlin, Germany – What follows are a set of letters found in the personal belongings of a  Mr. Hans Fischer. The belongings were found in the attic of the homeowner of the house originally owned by Mr. Fischer. Mr. Fischer was a German soldier who fought as an infantryman in the first World War. Other than this fact, and the facts revealed in the following letters, little to nothing is known about him. The letters were originally handwritten, but since these handwritten letters were donated to the British Library, the following is a typed, translated copy of those original manuscripts. Based on the letters found, it is clear more correspondence occurred than merely these six documents, as there are significant gaps in the dates, as well as letters mentioning places and people as if mentioned before, however, those places and people are not found in the other six letters.

Note: Due to an American translator getting her hands on the manuscripts first, the translation work, though superb, is written in American english, hence the words “civilization” and “color”. We apologize for the misspellings.

14 August 1914

My dear Hans,

I hope all is well with you. They say the war will be over by Christmas. While I definitely do hope that’s the case, I’m not altogether too sure of that. It’s strange to think our days of innocence are over. No longer can we gather outside in front of Frau Muller’s house and play football like we used to. Look at us, we’re all grown up now, and off to war! At least, you are. I really tried, Hans. I really did. Three times I tried to apply, but they wouldn’t have it. They just wouldn’t have me. But given the past two days, I’m quite glad I didn’t. I’m in Belgium at the present, and it has been two days since the Germans invaded. There is a savagery to war, don’t you think? The brutality of it shocks me, I admit I have had some trouble sleeping the past two nights. Perhaps I would not have liked war as much as I thought. When we used to play soldiers in the streets, we imagined slaying our thousands, but to see it in real life is truly unsettling. As I hurried home today, I could hear the pops gunshots from a few streets down. It’s a disgusting thing, this war. What’s the meaning of all of this, anyway? Why are we fighting? That blasted archduke was shot by some extremist. Does that justify all of this brutality. Surely not. There can’t be meaning in this world. There is no use in all these boys going off to die, to think, I could have been one of them! I truly feel bad for you, my friend, that you went into the army. They ask you to throw away your life on the whim of old, wealthy kings, most of whom haven’t a clue of the honest living of the masses. And the literature, oh the literature Hans. How grandiose it is, crying out to fight and die for king and country. All the products of those damned fool idealistic crusades of yesteryear. The literature, it’s truly hilarious, the literature actually seeks to find meaning in all of this. It tries to find meaning in this blasted war. There is no meaning Hans, I’m telling you, there cannot be. The horror I have witnessed is merely a glint of clear glass in a thickly scratched mirror. It is nothing, and yet I can see, clearly, how meaningless everything is. There is nothing new under the sun. I think it ought to be time for the literature to reflect the utter meaninglessness of all of this, there is no time for it to try to find meaning, because finding meaning in the carnage is a lie. Don’t tell me it’s not. Don’t remind me of your Christianity. That all is the height of meaninglessness. I’ve considered a new art form you know, nothing I’ve written, but I’ve been playing with the notion in the back of my mind: An art form about nothing. Think about it, an entire poem, and after you read it, you’re nowhere closer to the “truth” of it all than when you started, cause there was no truth to begin with! I laugh to myself quite a bit when thinking about it. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be here, but I reckon that the minute I have an excuse to leave this blasted place I definitely intend to do so, and maybe set off for some place that isn’t so troubled with this war. Maybe I’ll start writing that poetry! although, to be fair, that poetry doesn’t really need too much thought. The glory of that would be in its meaningless. But think about it Hans. Think about the brilliance of it, put aside your lofty Christian ideals for a second and consider what a lowly sinner is saying. The poetry I’m proposing wouldn’t be just literature, but it would be scathing satire on this western civilization we find ourselves wrapped in. It would mock the literature, yes, but it would also mock those elitists trying to find meaning in everything. They will spend days and days and days on end seeking to derive meaning that is not even there! And think about this, in them doing so, they create for themselves a microcosm of the world we live in: Man struggling to find meaning—to the point of creating meaning—to merely satisfy his inherent craving that everything MUST mean SOMETHING. It’s brilliant Hans. I’m bloody brilliant.

Sorry to burden you with my heathen ways, I haven’t many people to talk to here. Emmy is wonderful, yes, but other than her it’s been fairly lonely here. Tell me of how it goes on the Western Front. If you’re allowed, let me know the general area you’re in, that way I’ll be able to track your progress through the papers. Let me know if you need anything at all, I will be sure to try to send it to you any way I’m able. Take care of yourself. Don’t go off trying to be some hero.

Affectionately,

Hugo Continue reading

“The Storefronts of Modernism” Project

Storefronts are the first interaction that a passerby has with a brand and function in communicating a brand’s personality and purpose – much like a manifesto communicates the purpose of an agenda, group or era of literature.

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The Dada Movement Storefront is characterized by commodity and absurdity – just as the movement was. The illustration design is very simple and somewhat visually displeasing. It takes on a generic cartoon style that is meant to represent the commodification of art in the form of sellable cartoons. The absurdity continues when you look at the objects in the storefront that correspond to what is being advertised in print on the windows. “SCULPTURES” corresponds directly to the urinal that is representative of Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain.” Duchamp submitted “Fountain” to the Society of Independent Artists as a sculpture. Duchamp’s transforming of a urinal into a piece of art is one of the most defining and memorable moments of the Dada movement. It begged the question: who decides what is art and what value is placed on it? This made people rethink art and the ways in which it is commoditized. The rest of the products in the window beg the same question.

englishvorticism

The Vorticism/Imagism movement is one of the founding movements of modernism. The Vorticism/Imagism Storefront goes hand-in-hand with some of the ideologies of Vorticism summarized in Wyndham Lewis’s manifesto’s written in BLAST: to rely on modernity in the thought process and abstain from gushing over new technology (BLAST). Unlike the surreal, cartoonish approach that The Dada Movement Storefront exhibited, The Vorticism/Imagism Storefront aims to invent a more realistic storefront using materials that are representative of an interpretation of Vorticism/Imagism that suggests that technological innovation is ridiculous.  The log cabin style, the traditional awnings, the painted blue wooden door and the old school title font aim to capture the essence of an antique store. The movement focused on reinventing ideas rather than technologies, and thus the store is one that sells “ideas” – represented by a brain in a jar, thoughts on sale, and a typewriter.

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The Lost Generation Storefront aims to capture the complexity and duality of the Lost Generation.  Gertrude Stein coined the term describing the “Lost Generation” as one consisting of people who “have no respect for anything [and] drink [themselves] to death” (A moveable Feast).  Hemingway, however, argued that this was not the case for him and his band of expat writers that hung out at Shakespeare and Company in Paris (Shakespeare and Company).  They enjoyed luxuries on budgets and traveled often. The storefront is modern using neon lights and a minimalist design that invites viewers to compare the lost generation to modern generations.

Works Cited

 

Baker, Allie. “Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and the Lost Generation: An Interview with Kirk        Curnutt.” The Hemingway Project RSS. N.p., 20 July 2010. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Beach, Sylvia. “excerpts from Shakespeare and Company: ‘A Bookshop of My Own’ & ‘Pilgrims from America’” English 213: Modernist Lit & Culture, edited by Valerie         O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

“Duchamp, Fountain.” Khan Academy. Khan Academy, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2016.

Freud, Sigmund. “From The Interpretation of Dreams” English 213: Modernist Lit & Culture,       edited by Valerie O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

Hemingway, Ernest. “excerpts from A Moveable Feast: ‘Shakespeare and Company,’ ‘a False                 Spring,’ “Une Generation Perdue.” English 213: Modernist Lit & Culture, edited by    Valerie O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

“History of Modernism.” History of Modernism. Official Miami Dade College, n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Lewis, Windham. “Long Live the Vortex!” English 213: Modernist Lit & Culture, edited by           Valerie O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

Lewis, Windham. “Manifesto – 1” English 213: Modernist Lit & Culture, edited by Valerie            O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

Lewis, Windham. “Manifesto – 2” English 213: Modernist Lit & Culture, edited by Valerie            O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Lost Generation.” Encyclopædia Britannica. N.p., 23                Feb. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Dada.” Encyclopædia Britannica. N.p., 3 Oct. 2016.      Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

Tzara, Tristan. “from Dada Manifesto on Feeble & Bitter Love” English 213: Modernist Lit &      Culture, edited by Valerie O’Brien, Illini Union Bookstore, 2016, p. 55.

Ray, Justin. “25 Inventions That Are Completely Pointless.” Complex. Complex, 17 May 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

 

“World War I and Dada.” MoMA | Dada. MoMA, n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.

 

“5 Absurd and Useless Inventions | Super Tight Stuff.” Super Tight Stuff. Super Tight Stuff,         2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2016.

A modern day Woolf

For my creative project, I decided to create a Facebook page for Virginia Woolf, imagining that Virginia Woolf lived in modern day London. After reading her diary A Writers Diary, published by her husband Leonard Woolf, I found that Virginia’s attitude to things such as war and the position of a women were key to a lot of her diary entries. I wanted to reflect these attitudes and opinions through her social media page. By sharing articles on present day events I have tried to provide the perspective I believe Woolf would’ve had on them, the status’ include the U.S. election result, the tragedies in Aleppo and the portrayal of women in the media.

Throughout Woolf’s diary entries, her struggles with depression are clear. On Sunday, January 26th she states “This trough of despair shall not, I swear, engulf me. The solitude is great.” (520)  her acknowledgement of her state of mind and willingness not give in to it, makes her suicide even more saddening. It also shows the importance keeping her journal had for her state of mind, acting as way for her to express her true feelings and thoughts without receiving criticism or judgement. This being said it is interesting also to note her very active social life throughout her diary entries. She often was surrounded by people or going to parties reflecting her want to hide her depression from others, and the social system she was a part of. “Why was I depressed? I cannot remember. We have been to Charlie Chaplin. Like the milk girl we found it boring.”(521)  I found this observation interesting as it shows how even in the midst of war and Woolf’s total depression she continued to try and find some normalcy. I wanted to include this social aspect of Woolf’s life through sharing the image of a party modern Woolf had attended. It was also fascinating to see the many comparisons that could be made between herself and her fictional character Mrs Dalloway. A woman who focuses on tasks such as parties and her teenage years in order to cope with her unsettled feelings towards the direction in which her life goes. In her younger years she was determined to stray from the constrictions of society, but later falls into the mould of women she used to look at and hate. I think there is also an element of hypocrisy between the life Virginia Woolf led and the views she held, and the actions she took in order to challenge societal norms. For instance, although much of her writing she highlights women’s social injustices, there is little evidence of her trying to actually change these injustices. Perhaps if living in todays era she would’ve been able to engage more openly in challenging issues such as women’s rights and wouldn’t take such a subtly role.

I have used the functions of Facebook to try and reflect the kind of social media presence Woolf may have had if she was alive and a University student of today. The cover photo is a picture of a painting I created in the style of Henri Matisse. A Modernist painter who was producing work around the same time Woolf was writing. The painting is composed through having four single paintings, but when put together they make a whole picture. I used this technique to reflect the ideas of cubism, and looking at an everyday object, in this case flowers, and looking at them in a different perspective. I chose to make her profile picture also a painting as I wanted to reflect her love for art and the effect it had on her as a writer. She like painters of the time paid great attention to detail, and tried hard to capture things that people might not notice in everyday life and highlight it within her writing.

 

Bibliography

A Writers Diary, Virginia Woolf 1953

Kinetic Typography

When I first started looking at H.D’s poems, I noticed that in several of those I read, roses were mentioned.  I realized that she was using certain words and phrases, being short and sweet to force the reader to focus on the words. For my project, I chose two poems that both mentioned the roses/flowers, and I tried to determine what type of idea each of the poems portrayed.  Through kinetic typography, I tried to focus on sight as much as possible. I used various effects to do so including changing the color or a word, resizing it, and making it move in and out of the screen. My project focused on just one sensory aspect, which was, as said before, sight. Through resizing and changing the color, I tried to portray what H.D. wanted the reader to focus on. I didn’t add any unnecessary effects to the words because imagism wasn’t based on the idea of trying to comprehend what the poem was about. Due to the nature of kinetic Typography, I was able to capture what the text was saying. It was solely focused on the text and nothing else. The project itself showed what images H.D. were focusing on. As shown, H. D. in the years 1931- 1934  wrote included a lot of roses about flowers. My choices suggest that I tried to highlight this in changing the color of her focus on the poems. My project critiques how imagism wanted to be straightforward.  It showed that although imagism cared about the being concise, the poems did have to mean.

  • Had a problem with the audio transferring.

Work Cited :

“His Ecstasy.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d.
“Elegy and Choros.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d

Hem and Stein

I wrote a script where modernist writers never died. Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein are still alive in present day and stumble upon each other in Murphy’s pub. In this scene, the writers settle the squabbles they have had with each other for so long. Hem and Stein covers a great deal of writer’s friendship given by the biographical text Stein and Hemingway, by Lyle Larsen. Using the context of an outlandish premise to a fictional script allows for no surprise when the personas of both Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway are hyperbolic. Additionally, it provides an expectation for the content to be light at least at some points throughout the script and for a resolution to a realistically unsolvable friendship. Overall, by using a comprehensive biographical text showing the contents of their profession and friendship, this script is meant to emphasize Hemingway’s and Stein’s personalities by placing them in present day as well as provide both explanation and resolution to the troubling friendship between Stein and Hemingway. Any lack of explanation regarding historical events is meant to speak to the constant ambiguities between writers who write of each other, where events will never be told the way they truly happened.

Murphy’s pub was an appropriate location for the reunion, as it calls to the University but it also is the most commonly known “sit down” bar near campus. The conversation between the two needed both alcohol and a place to sit and talk, both of which are in Murphy’s pub in the frigid cold of the evening. With this in mind, the two needed to be trapped for there to be an initiation of Hemingway’s confessions. “From Stein’s point of view, Hemingway’s cowardice lay in his attempt to conceal his predominantly emotional and sensitive nature” (98 Larsen). From his avid interest in bullfighting to his war-talk, Hemingway is commonly known as an extremely masculine writer. But Stein knew better and in order to expose him she needed him to keep from avoiding the conversation. Being snowed in felt appropriate given the weather during that time in which this was written, but also because it was a matter of fate. Already it is unlikely for the two to meet again, and the snow is the comical cherry on the unfortunate fate sundae.

 

This is the script

creative-project

This is the analysis of the script which may help.

written-analysis

Urban Space and Modernism

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“It is from the fruitful union of the grotesque and the sublime that the modern spirit is born” (Hugo, cited in Lehan, p. 108).

Peter Walsh, one of the main characters in Mrs. Dalloway, considers urban life as positive throughout the book. He finds civilization very beautiful as he appreciates the “efficiency” and “organization” of the city when an ambulance drives past the traffic and the people (Woolf, p. 51). A literary critic Williams also discusses the “organization” of urban space in Modernist literature. “Uniformity”, as Williams calls it, is a recurring theme in literature on urban space. The analysis in the project extends the “uniformity” theory to Mrs. Dalloway and reinterpret Peter’s “organization” into Williams’s “uniformity”. Also, “uniformity” serves as a turning point to the “grotesque” in the presentation as “uniformity” is also interpreted in the novel negatively as a diminishment of individual characteristics.

Tourism seems not to be much addressed in Modernist literature on urban space. Perhaps, in our age, the urban space turns into a more cosmopolitan place in which international communications increase. However, tourists who come to London usually will not experience the real local life. This is true for other cities because the tourism is developed specifically for economic interests and local inhabitants are often unwilling or too occupied to attend these events. Therefore, in London, visitors can travel in carriages driven by white horses for the purpose of experiencing 20th century English life while all the local citizens will not do. It is also ironic that in contemporary times, horses are brought back for tourist purposes while in Modernism, especially futurism, the main goal is “evolve” the city and to fill it with automobiles that symbolize mobility and energy. Perhaps, the future futurists predict eventually turns out to be a more complex and contradictory system—a vortex of the old and new; the nature and the machinery.

Works Cited:

Cianci, Giovanni. “FUTURISM AND THE ENGLISH AVANT-GARDE: THE EARLY POUND BETWEEN IMAGISM AND VORTICISM.” AAA: Arbeiten Aus Anglistik Und Amerikanistik, vol. 6, no. 1, 1981, pp. 3–39. http://www.jstor.org/stable/43023218

Lehan, Richard. The city in literature: an intellectual and cultural history. Univ of California Press, 1998.

Pound, Ezra. “In a Station of the Metro.” Anthology of Modern American Poetry, edited by Cary Nelson, Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 47.

Williams, Raymond. “The metropolis and the emergence of modernism.” Modernism/Postmodernism, 1985, 82-94.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Brace And Co., 1925. Print.

Marinetti, F. T. To my Pegasus, 1908, http://spoknippet.blogspot.com/2006/02/poem-marinetti-f-t-to-my-pegasus.html