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Chapter 5 - Women, Money, and Modernism

from Part I - Histories and Critical Traditions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2022

Paul Crosthwaite
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Peter Knight
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
Nicky Marsh
Affiliation:
University of Southampton
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Summary

The first half of this chapter explores three ways in which modernist writers responded to the economics of their period. It explores modernism’s engagement with the economic horizons of writing and publication; modernism’s understanding of economic thought, ranging across of the ideas of figures such as John Maynard Keynes, Georg Simmel, Marcel Mauss, and Georges Bataille; and modernism’s responses to shifts in the money form itself, particularly changing attitudes towards the gold standard. The second half of the chapter explores the ways in which these issues were navigated in the work of modernist woman writers, including Jean Rhys, Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Mansfield, Edith Wharton, and Virginia Woolf. In revealing and rewriting the relationship between metaphors of femininity and metaphors of money, these writers were able to explore and reimagine the relationship between their own sexual identities and consumer culture; the meanings of race, paternity, and inheritance; and the possibilities of exchange, translation, and a new international order.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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