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Walking with Woolf: A Day at Monk’s House

30 January 2023

Galen Bunting, Northeastern University

This summer, I spent a single day visiting Monk’s House, which Virginia and Leonard Woolf purchased for 700 pounds in 1919. My taxicab drove through green tunnels to the small village of Rodmell, and stopped in front of the cottage where Woolf spent much of the Blitz—and where she wrote her 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway. With me, I had a copy of The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway, edited by Merve Emre (University of Oxford). Its margins were arrayed with historical, scholarly, and archival detail from Woolf’s manuscripts and journals, guiding me through Woolf’s texts as I visited Monk’s House.

Continue reading “Walking with Woolf: A Day at Monk’s House”

Book Review: The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway

30 January 2023

Han Au Chua, University of Oxford

Woolf, Virginia. The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway, ed. by Merve Emre (New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2022)

It is true that Merve Emre’s The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway (2021) is not the first annotated version of Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs Dalloway (1925). There have been others that were published in the last two decades. These include Mariner Books’s Mrs. Dalloway (2005), annotated by Bonnie Kim Scott; Oxford University Press’s Mrs Dalloway (2009), accompanied by David Bradshaw’s notes; and Cambridge University Press’s Mrs. Dalloway (2018), edited by Anne Fernald. In fact, the year in which Emre’s book was published saw the release of a Norton critical edition, also edited by Fernald. Yet what makes The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway exceptional is not the scale and depth of evidence marshalled to clarify ostensibly abstruse references in Woolf’s novel. It is the distinctive array of questions posed by Emre to guide the reader in thinking about the novel’s history, structure, and characterisation, as well as the edition’s seamless engagement with influential and largely neglected debates in contemporary modernist scholarship.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway”

BAMS Elections: A Representative Dialogue

7 December 2022

New Work in Modernist Studies is almost upon us (this Friday!) and elections for the BAMS committee – including, of particular interest to us, the PG Reps – are now open! While we are heartbroken to say goodbye to Emily, we are also so excited to welcome new reps to keep building our postgrad community. As is tradition, we sat down this year to chat about the role and what you might want to know before you apply.

What do you need to be qualified for the PG Rep role?

Hannah Voss: The hard and fast requirement is that you need to be a first or second-year PhD student in any area of modernist studies. I found it helpful joining the team with some knowledge of WordPress and a little bit of editorial experience to bring to The Modernist Review, but those are not necessities by any means! We all learn on the job and complement each other’s strengths, so what we really want is someone who is open to collaboration and is excited to be part of the team.

What does the role involve?

Elena Valli: Collaborating with other PhD students means that the schedule is flexible. On a weekly basis, TMR-related tasks include managing our famous #ModWrite twitter thread on Mondays, answering emails, and keeping track of the articles and reviews we receive. We also go through each of the pieces in pairs, offering feedback and working with the writers until we receive their final version for publication. Around the end of the month, everything comes together as we upload the files to WordPress and get ready to share our next issue! We always make sure to divide work depending on everyone’s availability, so that TMR chores never weigh on our PhD work, and there is always someone ready to help.

What is BAMS’ commitment to diversity in our committee and in the content we publish?

Jinan Ashraf: As part of BAMS’ commitment to BAME scholars, we especially encourage applications from researchers and scholars from across national borders to foreground the significance of global modernist production and international modernisms. We particularly keep an eye out for conversations that challenge hegemonic / Eurocentric narratives of modernist production and foreground conditions of literary and cultural encounters. As a BAME academic, your voice matters to TMR in particular and BAMS more broadly as we invite proposals from and draw editorial responses to ideas, articles, papers, and conferences that straddle the boundaries of modernisms across the world. Issue #35 of TMR was dedicated to transnational modernisms, with articles from scholars whose works speak to the broad ways in which art, literature, and culture reach and develop across borders. Over the coming years, we hope to dedicate more TMR issues that look at the ‘transnational turn’ in modernist studies.

What are your favourite & least favourite parts of the job?

HV: This is going to sound so dorky but there’s something so satisfying about firing off a bunch of emails and getting the inbox cleared, or starting a big organisational project. I also love feeling like I have an all-access pass to the backstage of BAMS – it demystifies a lot of academic processes and makes them a lot less intimidating. My least favourite part is when it’s publication day and we’re so excited to get the issue out but need to spend ages double and triple-checking all the WordPress formatting – it’s so necessary but can be really time consuming.

EV: I love to see what everyone is working on, especially when it comes to fellow postgraduate students. One of the perks of editing TMR is that we get a taste of emerging trends and interests in modernist studies, and we get to learn more about topics different from our own. As much as I love reading each of the pieces, I agree with Hannah that checking formatting and spelling is the least pleasant and most time consuming side of the job, but it gets easier with habit.

JA: The most exciting part about working with BAMS is bringing out issues of TMR – I love writing up the editorial and introducing our readers to what we’ve got in store for the month – whether it’s the latest in the field or little known works in modernist studies. The BAMS community is warm and welcoming and ready to help out with anything – from advice on running TMR to help with funding bids and queries on research, nothing else compares in terms of support! I must say – unlike Hannah – I do not enjoy firing off e-mails (though I guess you could say I’m coming around to it).

What are you most looking forward to next year?

HV: I really want to do a ‘Spooky Modernisms’ issue next October so if anyone is interested let us know… Also I had hoped to collaborate with the Modernist Studies Association postgrads this past year, which didn’t end up being in the cards for us, but I’d really love to do something with them this year!

EV: I look forward to more guest edits (send us your ideas!) and hopefully to turning our upcoming NWiMS conference into an exciting dedicated issue some time next year.

JA: In the coming year, I look forward to fortifying TMR readership and submissions – it would be great to have exciting issues on Spooky Modernisms, NWiMS, and guest edits across a range of fascinating topics. I also hope the coming year brings us fresh, new, and diverse perspectives in the field and hopefully more in-person opportunities to speak about the field, particularly from under-represented perspectives.

What’s been the highlight of the role for you so far?

HV: This year’s BAMS conference (Hopeful Modernisms) was honestly the highlight of my entire academic year. I didn’t even present or chair a panel, I just wandered around and listened to amazing speakers and helped the conference committee when they needed a boost. It was such a friendly space and I met so many cool people — can’t wait for 2024!

EV: It was wonderful to meet everyone in person for Hopeful Modernisms, to hear such a varied range of presentations and to see everyone bonding over their mutual interests and their enthusiasm for modernist authors and ideas. More recently, we got news of a lovely review of TMR in the TLS — that was a pretty special moment too!

JA: Seconding Elena, TMR being featured in an issue of the Times Literary Supplement only speaks volumes about the kind of work we do at TMR/BAMS! Come join us so you can be part of a real dream team — it’s surreal.

How to apply:

Applications for 2 two-year postgraduate representative positions are sought from registered doctoral students in their first or second year of study (or PT equivalent). The elected representatives will join Jinan Ashraf, Elena Valli and Hannah Voss, who are a year into their own two-year terms.

BAMS especially welcomes applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) postgraduate members, and we are firm and unflinching in our commitment to a vision of an inclusive and diverse Exec.

Responsibilities include attending two Exec meetings a year and helping out with PG events and workshops (travel expenses paid). Responsibilities shared between the PG reps include editing The Modernist Review, running BAMS social media, answering info@BAMS.ac.uk emails and sending welcome emails to new members. There are also opportunities to launch new initiatives, and we value and welcome such suggestions from postgraduate representatives.

Candidates are asked to submit a brief biography as well as a 250-word proposaloutlining their vision for the future of BAMS, their suitability for the role, and their envisaged contribution to the association.

Candidates for the Postgraduate Representative positions do not require a nomination from an existing member of BAMS. They must themselves be members of the association. Instructions for joining BAMS can be found on the website: https://bams.ac.uk/join-bams/. The final selection will be made through an online election process open to all BAMS members.

Applications should be emailed to the BAMS Chair, Andrew Frayn (a.frayn@napier.ac.uk) no later than 9am (GMT) on Monday 9 January 2023. If you would like some more information about the roles before applying, please do write to Andrew, Jinan, Elena or Hannah.

Image credit: Mabel Frances Layng, The Café (1925), watercolour on card, Creative Commons 4.0 CC BY-NC-SA

Modernist Review #43: Inside and Outside Modernism: An Anatomy of 1922 and its Cultures

4 November 2022

Domonique Davies and Benjamin Bruce, University of Reading

In March this year we held a conference at the University of Reading to discuss the year 1922. The idea was to take a holistic approach to the year, looking at its history, literature and culture, and the papers that we received exceeded our expectations, discussing everything from cookery to concepts of blindness. However, it might be argued that to attempt to delineate a single year in all its fullness and contradiction is neither advisable nor possible. Billie Melman, in discussing the 1920s, for example, has written that ‘a decade […] is not a fact. It is an arbitrary measurement of time, retrospectively imposed upon […] the past by the tidy-minded student of history.’[1] How much more can this be said about a single year which will encompass all manner of ideas, forms and actions, some derived from the distant past, many recently born and a few that will appear on just a single occasion and have no subsequent relevance. Even if this places some formidable obstacles in the way of characterising just twelve short months, it does not mean that something of relevance cannot be surmised. It is important, though, to avoid the tidy mindedness of which Melman speaks and not place more value upon the banner headlines than the small print.

Continue reading “Modernist Review #43: Inside and Outside Modernism: An Anatomy of 1922 and its Cultures”

Food Innovations: The Conditions of ‘Cookery’ in Good Housekeeping

4 November 2022

Loren Evangelista Agaloos, University of the Philippines, Diliman

This paper explores the intersection of food studies and modernism by considering the women’s periodical in the early twentieth century, particularly Good Housekeeping (GH) and its Department of Cookery pages. My focus is on the American edition of GH from the year 1922, whose digitised volumes are available on the Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History (HEARTH), which is found within Cornell University Library’s open-access collections.[1] Continue reading “Food Innovations: The Conditions of ‘Cookery’ in Good Housekeeping”

The RUSI Journal in 1922

4 November 2022

Jacqui Grainger, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) and University of Westminster

The RUSI Journal is the journal of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI).[1] It has been in continuous publication since 1857 and provided a semi-authorised voice on the military and geopolitical concerns of Whitehall and Westminster until the 1980s. As its funding landscape has changed, the institute and its journal have transformed to provide independent research and analysis.

The content of the RUSI Journal throughout 1922 is mainly concerned with analysis of World War One with articles that focus on the campaigns and actions of 1917-1918. These articles are interspersed with discussions of more recent events and by late 1922 feature the genocide of Greek communities in Anatolia during the Greco-Turkish War and the final months of the Ottoman Empire. From the contents of the RUSI Journal for 1922 five key topics emerge:

Continue reading “The RUSI Journal in 1922”

The Modernist Bookshops of Charing Cross Road

4 November 2022

Matthew Chambers, University of Warsaw

Today, bookshops like Foyle’s and Any Amount of Books on Charing Cross Road or the cluster of booksellers on the adjoining Cecil Court Road operate as reminders of the heyday of bookselling in this area of London in the early-to-mid twentieth century. In 1934, for example, there were twenty-six booksellers on these two streets, and several were active in the publishing and distribution of modernist literature. Charing Cross Road was opened in the late 1880’s to improve travel between Charing Cross and Tottenham Court Road and Bloomsbury.[i] Booksellers began opening shops in the earliest years following the road’s opening and has long since been associated with bookselling.[ii] There was an immense variety in the types, commercial success, and longevity of the bookshops. Amongst these booksellers were some for whom the current trends in writing and the arts held the most fascination, and they actively sought to not only sell but also publish and support these authors. Continue reading “The Modernist Bookshops of Charing Cross Road”

What Did 1922 Mean for Wallace Stevens?

4 November

Domonique Davies, University of Reading

If 1922 was a significant year for Modernism, it certainly was for Wallace Stevens. Aged forty-two and established in his position as chair of the Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, Stevens spent much of the latter half of 1922 compiling poems for his first collection, Harmonium, which would be published with A. A. Knopf the following year. While Stevens would go on to become one of America’s most anthologised poets, his feelings towards his work during his early career reveal much about his ambitions for his writing, and the roles of language and sound within his poems. This piece will pinpoint the significance of the year of 1922 within the development of Stevens’s poetics, focusing on a letter from Stevens to the editor of Poetry magazine, Harriet Monroe, on 28th October 1922.

Continue reading What Did 1922 Mean for Wallace Stevens?

Modernism on the Road: Rural Touring in 1922

4 November 2022

Emma West, University of Birmingham

 

In June 1922 a curious sight appeared in the Lake District. Along the banks of the Derwent and the Honnister Pass came a grey Lancia van with the words ‘The Arts League of Service Travelling Theatre’ emblazoned on the side. Grey vans were uncommon then, so sightings sparked much interest. Residents in Borrowdale and Rosthwaite, The Sphere reported, were ‘agog with excitement’.[1] The van’s contents were even more surprising. Upon its arrival out climbed no fewer than ten players with their baggage, including props, costumes and, most remarkably, a ‘proscenium stage, curtains, lighting set and switch box’.[2] As the players erected their stage, a complicated system of interconnecting ladders, a crowd began to gather outside.[3] A photo survives of them waiting at Rosthwaite’s new village hall, the Borrowdale Institute, queuing up in their Sunday best. Continue reading Modernism on the Road: Rural Touring in 1922

The Crossword Puzzle and the Information Society

4 November 2022

Adele Guyton, University of Leuven

In February 1922, the editor of Pearson’s Magazine wrote:

Here is a new form of puzzle in the shape of a Word Square that will provide you with a very pleasant hour’s entertainment. […] If you like this sort of thing, I shall be pleased to give you one every month, but in that case you must write and tell me. […] These new word squares are having a tremendous vogue in America just now.[1]

This was the first crossword published in the United Kingdom and was the first of many quizzes to fill Pearson’s pages during the 1920s and 30s.[2] This might seem quite innocuous – after all, puzzles are everywhere in magazines and newspapers today – but I suggest here that beyond being a “vogue” from America, the Pearson’s crossword is a popular manifestation of the information culture of European modernism.[3]

Continue reading The Crossword Puzzle and the Information Society

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