Modernist Women Writers and American Social Engagement

Jody Cardinal (Editor) Deirdre E. Egan-Ryan (Editor)
& 2 more


Modernist Women Writers and American Social Engagement explores the role of social and political engagement by women writers in the development of American modernism. Examining a diverse array of genres by both canonical modernists and underrepresented writers, this collection uncovers an obscured strain of modernist activism. Each chapter provides a detailed cultural and literary analysis, revealing the ways in which modernists' politically and socially engaged interventions shaped their writing. Considering issues such as working class women's advocacy, educational reform, political radicalism, and the global implications for American literary production, this book examines the complexity of the relationship between creating art and fostering social change. Ultimately, this collection redefines the parameters of modernism while also broadening the conception of social engagement to include both readily acknowledged social movements as well as less recognizable forms of advocacy for social change.

Product Details

Lexington Books
Publish Date
March 15, 2019
6.0 X 0.88 X 9.0 inches | 1.43 pounds

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About the Author

Jody Cardinal is director of the Writing Center at the State University of New York, Old Westbury. Deirdre E. Egan-Ryan is associate professor of English at St. Norbert College. Julia Lisella is associate professor of English at Regis College.


This wide-ranging and fascinating collection of essays represents a significant intervention into the study of modernist writing by women, as it was enrolled in the social and political structures of modernity. This volume will appeal to scholars working across American modernist literature and culture; the history of women's writing; and the history of social engagement and political activism.--Alix Beeston, Cardiff University
This book fills in important missing contexts surrounding modernist writing. In a series of absorbing essays, the authors treat an array of modernist writers, from the canonical to the middlebrow to the little known, bringing to the fore the myriad social and political commitments animating their work.--Maren Tova Linett, Purdue University
This book is a welcome addition to the scholarship on gender in modernism/modernity. The editors and contributors capably relate their work to previous study, expanding on its social concerns, genres, terminology, and the diversity of its canon. The collection contains little-known examples of authors' activism and encourages comparison of diverse arenas and expressions of social engagement.--Bonnie Kime Scott, professor emerita, San Diego State University and the University of Delaware