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1 GLOBAL VILLAGES: MODERNISM AND THE REGIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE AMERICAN CENTURY By CHRISTINA VAN HOUTEN A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT S FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Christina Van Houten
3 To Patrick
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This dissertation has taught me the value of work I am grateful that Susan Hegeman has been my mentor for the la st six years of my graduate studies. Not only has she vastly improved my thinking and writing, she has taught me the important lesson that good academic work is more than research, teaching, and professionalization. Good academic work also consists of th e often unrecognized departmental service, the long hours of union organizing and the satisfaction that your labor is improving the university workplace. I must likewise thank Phil Wegner for this lesson. Any of the good work that I might have accomplis hed as a PhD student is largely thanks to his labor on my behalf: as a mentor advocating for me as a departmental administrator receiving insufficient thanks, and as an adviser organizing the most important community on campus. I am also indebted to Tace Hedrick and Trysh Travis for their crucial comments and suggestions: my dissertation is exponentially better because of them. My colleagues and friends have also improved my work. I thank my dissertation writing group Wesley Beal, Jordan Dominy, Mike M ayne, and Patrick McHenry for sharing their work with me and for improving mine with their thoughtful comments and strong criticisms. These guys and the rest of the Marxist Reading Group Regina Martin, Brian Mann, Matt Mingus, Wylie Lenz et al. have unde rlined the importance of balance: work, activism, companionship, and fun. Some of the most consequential work I have done while wrapping up my dissertation has been as a member of Assistants United. As an activis t for the feminist and labor movements, I have learned so much from the strategy sessions, the consciousness raisings, the protests, and the
5 marches. NWL and GAU have also challenged the way I think about the relationships between academic theory and move ment work : it is not enough to write a good dissertation or get an academic job. As a female academic (and a feminist academic) I must also work to improve labor conditions, contract language, and social wages. I thank NWL and GAU for their solidarity. Finally, I must thank my family. For many reasons my mother is the strongest woman I know. I thank her for the way that she has always tolerated, encouraged, and supported my work (even when I was an ornery five year old flying paper airplane notes downs tairs about running out of books to read). I thank my brothers for never letting me take myself too seriously. And I thank Patrick McHenry for being my partner in all things : as officemate, editor, and best friend With Simon the dog making our family o f three, I am quite happy.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ..................... 8 CHAPTER 1 I NTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 10 A Regional Framework for Late Modernism ................................ ............................ 13 Global Villages: Regional Modernism in the American Century .............................. 22 2 RETURNING TO DOMESTIC CULTURE: WILLA CATHER, NELLA LARSEN, AND REGIONAL MODERNISM ................................ ................................ ............. 31 Narrative Breaks and Peripheral Modernism ................................ .......................... 32 Domesticating Regional Modernism ................................ ................................ ....... 39 Willa Cather: Regionalism Repairing Toward Modernism ................................ ....... 46 Nella Larsen: Transatlantic Modernism in a Regional Context ............................... 69 3 THE MAPPING OF AMERICA: GERTRUDE STEIN, GEOGRAPHICAL HISTORIES, AND AESTHETIC GEOPOLITICS ................................ ..................... 83 Modernist Geography: The Critical Topography of Twentieth Century America ..... 89 The Late Modernist Turn, Or, Stein Fait Un Four ................................ .................... 98 Pioneer Returns: Americanization, Middle Class Domesticity, and Regional Habit ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 108 4 DAWN POWELL, REGIONAL MODERNISM, AND THE POSTWAR AIR WORLD ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 117 Regional Antinomies and the Postwar Air World ................................ .................. 119 Regional Modernism and Uneven Modernity ................................ ........................ 123 Satire and the American Century ................................ ................................ .......... 131 Late Modernism and the Marriage Plot ................................ ................................ 144 5 BESIDES RAISING SIX CHILDREN BY THREE MARRIAGES: KAY BOYLE AND THE POLITICS OF LATE MODERNISM ................................ ...................... 155 Domestic Politics: American Citizenship and the American Century .................... 157 The Youngest Camel : Late Modernism and the American Family ........................ 168 Cold War Histories: Postwar Globalization and Regional Frameworks ................. 1 77 6 THE MAGIC OF AMERICA AND THE POLITICS OF REGIONAL MODERNISM 185
7 Modernism by Chicago Design ................................ ................................ ............. 187 Toward a Politics of Regional Modernism ................................ ............................. 194 ................................ ................................ ... 207 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 215 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 226
8 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy GLOBAL VILLAGES: MODERNISM AND THE REGIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR THE AMERICAN CENTURY By Christina Van Houten August 2012 Chair: Susan Hegeman Major: English obal Villages: Modernism and the Regional Framework of the American My intervention centers on the place of gender in regional modernism. I argue that if this movement is not predominantly driven by women, it is certainly motivated by an explicitly gendered (if not feminist) politics. My dissertation turns on two questions. How might a productive inclusion of gender into the culture debates between the 1920s and 1950 s refigure the relationship between regionalism and modernism? How might gender reformulate vernacular culture or I nternational S tyle such that the alternative model of regional modernism might challenge conventional readings of modernity? My response to these questions draws on the development of regional modernism in the writings of Willa Cather, Nella Larsen, Gertrude Stein, Dawn Powell, Kay Boyle, and Marion Mahony Griffin. Regional modernism politicizes domestic concerns, specifically relating to th e family, the home, and representations of domesticity, as ideological alternatives to the increasingly global American Century.
9 My argument is two part: I trace this development of regional modernism as a cultural concept in the work of Cather, Larsen, and Stein; and I consider the interventions of regional modernism by Powell, Boyle, and Mahony Griffin, paying particular attention to the way in which their work challenges American late modernist developments of aesthetic formalisms, political conservati sm, and cultural hegemony. In this context, I offer an alternative genealogy to modernism because I focus on the work of modernist women who otherwise would have been excluded from literary studies because they were women or, more generously, because they were women who wrote texts that were peripheral to modernism. Moreover, this alternative genealogy, aligned with the project of feminist recovery, opens to a larger critical project. I read regional modernism as a crucial mediator between modernism prop er and the late modernism of the American Century. Not only does this cultural movement challenge narratives of postwar American exceptionalism and conservative political developments in Cold War America; the collective project of these women challenges t he contested space of modernism and the ideology of the domestic front.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION So here and there will force on your consciousness the phenomenon that I will permit myself to call Middle Westishness: the evolution of races, cities, or even civilizations brought about by the crowding out of Far, Wild or Pioneer Wests. This happens politically, as exemplified by the British occupation of India or the French eastern colonies; it happens financially when the great banks, British or North A merican, having nothing else to do with their plethora of money, exploit for their own purposes the Middle, the Near or the Far East; it happens when we Anglo Saxons, finding the struggle for life too much for us at home, settle for cheapness, convenience and rational life, in France to the East of our native lands. We are here as an exemplification of the fact. We are all Middle Westerners. Ford Madox Ford, Transatlantic Stories Transatlantic Stories, Ford Madox Ford id entified the related events a period of turmoil in which no new literary talent could be found in Paris or London and an increasing fascination with the imagined cultural exoticism of the American West. So the story goes, having announced to American writers a call for their fiction, Ford was overwhelmed by both manuscripts from midwestern wr iters and featuring almost exclusively midwestern contributors. Ford wryly notes that his editorial intervention in literary modernism the promotion of American region alism as the new cosmopolitan movement xxi). What starts as an exclusively literary project of
11 searching for new talent becomes a totalized critique of the political, economic, social, and technological developments of massified modernity. According to Ford the American Midwest is as much a result of European failure fichu England is fichu, as it is the value of midwestern realism eal thing in xxix). More provocative, however, is the idea that this regionalism itself comes to characterize (if not dominate) modernism. With its elements of aesth etic revolutions, regional framework for modernism. This anecdote is important for three reasons, none of which have to do with Ford himself or with the particularities of h is literary criticism. First, the anecdote is an example of the importance of geographic context in the changing political, spatial, and cultural relationships constitutive of modernism and global modernization. Significantly, condition of possibility for critiq demonstrates in fairly obvious ways how prominently regionalism and midwestern culture figured in the ideology of Americanism for modernist theory and practice. Third, and less obviously, the anecdote alludes to the role that regionalism played in the cultural developmen ts of Americanism and modernism as well as the effects of
12 twentieth Transat lantic Stories introduction is important for the way in which he spatializes modernism, shifting the locus of political, economic, and cultural concept in the theorizati But just as important as his story of the transatlantic, regional developments of concept and movement, accepting as a historical fact its development, its context, its import, and its effects. 1 Although Ford is critical of the potential effects of postwar modernity and Ameri can exceptionalism specifically because both reject history, either reaffirms the clea a brac of monumental opens up to a second danger of the ideology of modernist theory and practice: the depoliticization of regionalism to an aesthetic style, or worse still, the deterritorialization of regionalism as a cultural movement to an international symptom. variety of characterizations, some more problematic than others: a movement wherein 1 Patterns for America The Politics of Modernism 35.
13 local color and vernacular culture becomes a significant component of cultural nationalism; a movement wherein region al culture represents an Americanist, global modernity; an aesthetic style whose formal traits of simplicity, sincerity, clearness, and folksiness supposedly signal midwestern life; and a social and political orientation that on the one hand challenged cen tralizations, urbanism, and totalitarianism and on the other hand promoted a cultural conservatism that obscured significant racial, class, and gendered tensions. This dissertation will therefore consider the historical and cultural characterization, and symptom of modernism. I will do this by investigating the development of regional modernism as a critical movement in the American Century, taking into consideration two thing s: the complicated history of regional modernism as concept and period, and the tensions this often contradictory movement evoked, with particular attention given to the gender politics of regional modernism. A Regional Framework for Late Modernism In this dissertation, I am interested in both the periodization of regional modernism and its ideological critique. In the first place, because I trace the history of cultural poli tics in the years between 1920 and 1960, my history locates modernism and regionalism as interrelated movements and challenges the polemics that position them in cultural opposition. A central premise of my dissertation is the continued importance of conc extending from modernism through late modernism. I argue that the cultural framework of regional modernism complicates conventional narratives associated with regionalism, mo dernism, and late modernism. Not only does it refuse a neat sequencing of these
14 movements, it also reads regional modernism as a messy collection of intellectual, technological, political and aesthetic developments a historical, periodizing category compe er to regionalism, modernism, and late modernism. This premise opens up to a more complicated narrative about the gendering of regional modernism in the period leading to the Cold War. In the second place, in addition to theorizing the development of re gional modernism and troubling its periodization in terms of the politics of modernism, my dissertation complicates the concept of regional modernism by reading its development specifically in relation to gender. There are several reasons for this move, i ncluding: the implicit gendering of regionalism as feminine and modernism as inherently masculine; the obfuscation of gender, vernacular culture, and the domestic in the theory and practice of high modernism; and a postwar return to regionalism that privil eges previously gendered ideas like the local, the family, and domestic culture as ideologically important to the aesthetic and political culture of the Cold War. I argue that regional modernism not only puts in tension the related binaries of the local a nd the global, center and periphery, and past and present; it also calls attention to the particular gendering of these movements and the way in which tensions between femininity and masculinity, domesticity and empire, fashion and style, and sentimentalis m and functionalism form a delicate dialectic. Thus, in this dissertation I am specifically interested in two questions: how might a productive inclusion of gender into the culture debates between the 1920s and 1960s refigure the relationship between regi onalism and modernism? How might gender reformulate vernacular culture or I nternational S tyle such that the alternative model of regional modernism might challenge conventional readings of modernity?
15 To get at these questions, I must make clear the adva ntages of reading regional modernism in relation to the ideologies of both modernism and the American Century specifically with an eye toward late modernism and its gender politics. First and foremost, I must establish the critical parameters of my projec t. I take seriously Rita what is included and what gets left out but also the philosophical assumptions underlying interpretations of the nature and meaning of social my dissertation begins as a project of archival work and feminist recovery. I offer an alternative genealogy to modernism that focuses on the work of modernist women who otherwise would have been excluded from literary studies because they were women or, more generously, because they were women who wrote texts that were peripheral to modernism. Despite the value of my alternative genealogy, however, the work of historical recovery is not my primary concern; I am more intereste d in working toward a feminist historiography of regional modernism that takes seriously questions of gender, class, labor, and democracy for modernist theory and practice than in simply producing a countercanon for feminist reclamation. Thus, this altern ative genealogy, aligned with the project of feminist recovery, opens to a larger critical project. Regional modernism transitional space between modernism proper and the lat e modernism of the American Century. 2 Not only does this cultural movement challenge narratives of postwar American exceptionalism and conservative political developments in Cold War America; the collective project of my set of figures Willa Cather, Nella Larsen, Gertrude Stein, 2 New German Critique (1973): 52.
16 Dawn Powell, Kay Boyle, Marion Mahony Griffin challenges the contested space of modernism and the ideology of the domestic front. Their regional modernism of imagining a horizon of utopian possibility. Taken together, my project of feminist recovery and historiography must e. Indeed, we must consider both the failure of the individual projects of this set of modernist women and the larger failure of modernist aesthetic ideology. 3 Here, I fol feminist history is not only a story of progress but also sometimes of forgotten ideas One not that regional mode rnism as a cultural vision has failed, but that the collective project of regional modernism is imagined as a part of history that has been superseded (115). Another problem is that modernism in general in its aspirations to grasp and represent a social t otality insofar as it attempts to provide imaginary resolutions to concrete social problems (Jameson, Postmodernism 409). Instead, we must think of regional modernism (and its failure) as a project of the individual subject to the vaster and properly unrepresentable totality which is the Postmode rnism 51). In this 3 On the theorization of this ideological turn to late modernism, see Phillip Wegner, Life Between Two Deaths 1989 2001 5.
17 context, Cather, Larsen, Stein, Powell, Boyle, and Mahony Griffin collectively use the framework of regional modernism to map the relationship between gendered production and social reproduction in domestic culture, cultural nationalism and global Americanism. The gendering of regional modernism, therefore, intervenes in the account of the social totality in which it is embedded: it reads gender as a systematic effect of a complex set of interconnected processes; it maps the connections among social systems like capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, and Americanism that exclude, oppress, or exploit women; and it challenges contradictions in the material distribution of resources, the ideals of democratic representation, and the prevailing knowledges that constitute and constrain subjectivity. Significant to this project, for example, is the contestation of the typically modernist spatializing of gender and its binaries of masculine/feminine, public/private, modernism/regionalism, metropol e/province, and center/periphery. 4 The project of cognitive mapping the framework of regional modernism subjects within the social structure as a whole. As Carolyn point, especially given the context of regional m critique of the American Century than it is a problem of reification in late modernism. I 4 Weeks, Constituting Feminist Subject s 70 ; and Rosemary Hennessy, Materialist Feminism and the Politics of Discou rse 67.
18 would argue that each of these women participate in a deeply political modernism: in theory their narratives quite literally map a relationship between the individual and the global; and in practice the range of their work, including novels, magazine editorials, books, and architectural manifesto impel a diverse audience to participate in this gender politics. The praxis of the framework of regional modernism ultimately fails because of the global political and aesthetic developments of late modernism. Regional modernism makes impossible political demands based on the political hegemony of Americanism spelled out in Marshall Plan and Cold War policies, and the ideology of modernism characterized by academicism, formalism, and the reification of autonomy, represen tation, and literature. And yet, despite this failure, the framework of regional modernism provides a crucial lesson about the politics of late modernism: as a mapping of the social totality, regional modernism contradictorily works to represent the unrep resentable, ultimately giving its female practitioner an opportunity to think through and challenge her individual social place in the global system Put differently, the framework of regional modernism teaches us that the reification and totalizing knowl edges constitutive of late modernism can be challenged and changed by the pressures of the local, the peripheral, the contingent, and the particular. 5 A second consequence of this framework of regional modernism, then, is concerned with the theorization of late modernism. My project takes as its starting point the architectural theory of Charles Jencks and Kenneth Frampton, whose respective theoretical scaffolding; they 5 See, Hegeman, Patterns for America 211.
19 Postmodernism 305, Frampton 327). Although both Jencks and Frampton are specifically interested in postmodern architecture, their work is nevertheless relevant to me for its critique of the ideology of modernism, especially since it challenges the very emergence of postmodernism and its supposed radical break from modernist theory and practice. critical of both modernization and po stmodern style must be peripheral to normative 327). The fact that these con cepts are associated with architectural postmodernism perhaps speaks to the historical persistence of regional modernism into the period of postmodernism. It is from this starting point in architectural theory that my work on late modernism turns to the cu ltural theory of Jameson and Raymond Williams. Although Jencks and Frampton provide me a framework that shows how local efforts can simultaneously work to resist global capitalism and create an alternative vernacular culture, their work does not exceed th e confines of architectural discourse. In contrast, both Jameson and Williams provide me the tools to think through late modernism as both a periodization and a narrative category. 6 Jameson, for example, describes late modernism in these axiomatic terms: 6 Jameson offers in Part 1 of A Singular Modernity.
20 Singular Modernity 197). But more significant to my project than this definition is Jam mediator in the emergence of postmodernism. As Phillip Wegner notes, there are a periods and b this dissertation, this periodization points to a connection in Jenck s po stmodernism through their insistence that modernist theory and practice persists in this cultural moment. However, this reading strategy comes with a historical constraint. Jameson argues that critical regionalism must be a movement deeply invested in so cial and standardizations of a henceforth global late capitalism and corporatism, whos e Seeds of Time 202). and regional modernism as constitutive to the cultural logic of late modernism. In a similar fashion, Williams desc ribes the development of late modernism in and the resultant tensions between popular tastes and avant garde innovation, commercialism and democracy. The plan for buil modernist culture destabilizing the fixed forms of an earlier bourgeois period, and was followed by the new postwar metropolis providing the economic and political capital to
21 support this new social and cultural space However, Williams makes clear that what started as a deeply critical aesthetic and political project quite quickly became addressed was a real development of universal distribution and of unprecedented opportunities for genuine and diverse cultural exchange. What was ideologically inserted was a model of a homogenized humanity consciously served from two or three centers: the monopolizing corporations and the elite met The effect of this late modernist ideology on the concept of space was to invoke the local and the peripheral for their populist and democratic connotations, only to negate their particular material needs and cultural diffe rences for the sake of some centralizing and universalizing process. In this periodization and narrative of late modernism, we R. Leavis and his promotion of a return to ideology of modernism proffered in the complementary projects of the New York Intellectuals and New Critics, as well as in t he work of the Southern Agrarians and their regional antimodernism. importantly helps us to locate a critical return to the frameworks of regional modernism and glob al villages. But like Jameson who pairs his critique of late modernism with a
22 proposal for its ideological alternative, so too Williams offers a caveat: the innovating ely both aesthetic forms and political action (133). The second area is a popular culture of daily life, significant because it does not originate via the market a resemblance to the characteristics of the late modernist framework of regi onal modernism and its triangulation of regionalism, gender politics, and domestic culture. Likewise, the gendered mapping of regional modernism can also be read as a parallel s erent zone Seeds of Time 191 192). late modernism by mapping an alternative spatial culture. Global Vi llages: Regional Modernism in the American Century My dissertation is divided into two parts. Part 1 traces the development of regional modernism as a cultural concept. In the work of Willa Cather, Nella Larsen, and Gertrude Stein, regional modernism pos itions the domestic home, family, and domesticity as ideological alternatives to the increasingly global American Century. I American vernacular culture and internation al cosmopolitanism, ultimately articulating a
23 conceptual break from previous theorizations of modernism. However, the conceptual breaks, revolutions and epistemic shif cultural project altogether contributed to its rhetorical format Patterns 212). It is in this new construction of regional modernism that the domestic, broadly conceived to include a range of invocations from feminized spaces to gendered divisions of labor to the domestication of culture, becomes a crucial concep t for thinking through a spatialized history of American modernism and how we think through its relationship to the local and the global. Chapter 1 consists of a comparative reading of Cather and Larsen, wherein I suggest that the 1920s mark not only the ir self conscious rejection of a massified American modernity but also their troubling of the cultural logic of modernism. In the context of this chiasmic framework, I offer a reading of these women that challenges the conventional view of these women as modernists: that Cather is really a prairie novelist who must fight the stigmas of local color and political conservatism to prove her modernism, and that Larsen is an urban figure who is considered a modernist by dint of her associations with the Harlem R enaissance. However, read together, I argue that their interventions, doubly located in this personal and cultural politics, argue for a reconsideration of gender, domesticity, and local culture within American modernism. Specifically, I begin by narrati convention to give pause to their larger considerations of gender, domesticity and geography in the theory and practice of modernism. What both women consider, and
24 what I argue they ultimately contribut e to the development of literary modernism, include questions of feminism on peripheral frontiers, the politicization of domestic space, the function of race and ethnicity in marking the boundaries of uneven development, and the overlap of local and intern ational concerns within modernism. To that extent, I see their respective 1922 and 1924 breaks as a respatialization of modernism toward an explicit regionalist politics. the texts. Beginning with her 1930s texts and extending through her 1940s publications Stein maps two seemingly contradictory histories: the first, in which the American mu st be reorganized on a global level. Her work from this period functions as middling texts, narrating a shift between both high and late modernisms and nationalist and global Americanisms. But with regard to the problems of closure implicit in this secon d historical movement of Americanization, Stein seemingly attempts to resist the ends of modernism and history as cultural strategies by invoking a kind of critical regionalism in response to the institutionalization of late capitalism. Here, regionalism becomes important not only for its nationalist implications for example, in periodizing the American Century as bound up with the Great Depression, or in describing differences in regional identity as a mark of both American creativity and citizenship but also for the way in which a regional lens can focalize a kind of critical topography of the
25 literary modernism, where questions of regional autonomy, cultural nationalism, and foreign policy turn on questions of domesticity. Moving from the international to the regionalism becomes an attempt to resist the closure of modernism via the forces of fascist governments, world wars, and global capitalism. Part 2 of my dissertation considers the explicit intervention of regional modernism in the late modernism of Dawn Powell, Kay Boyle, and Marion Mahony Griffin. If we take late modernism a s being a cultural movement that accounts for the persistence of modernist theory and practice following the Second World War, one that specifically acknowledges the history of transnational developments within modernism, these women are significant becaus e they collectively challenge what they perceive as a movement toward the commodification of modernism. Responding to the increasing cultural capital of American art, literature, and architecture in postwar modernism, Powell, Boyle, and Mahony Griffin com bine to form an alternative response to the ideologies undercutting American modernism and cold war exceptionalism, those often contradictorily offered by American print media and New Critical academicism. To that end, their regional modernism becomes a k ind of cultural corrective to the exceptionalist politics of the American Century. fold project of juxtaposing Midwestern and New York City settings and satirizing the effects of class constructs on dom estic cultural nationalism. In the first place, Powell satirizes the spatial culture of the city and country and the domestication of their spatial differences, specifically that of
26 regional sentimentalism and modern pretensions and Midwestern conservatis m and metropolitan progress. In her novels written between the 1930s and 1960s, Powell neither privileges the city nor the country. Instead, her regional modernism operates within a dialectic that ultimately points to the ways in which the city and the c ountry are both mutually constitutive and ideologically co dependent. In the second place, this complex dialectic of city and country and modernism and regionalism opens up to the y of a postwar focus on the family, the home, domesticity, and the suburb becomes alternatively a commodity for American print media and an anathema for American w ith the rise of American capital and the privileging urban metropolises over regional peripheries, geographical difference becomes homogenized and regional variation becomes impossible. Chapter 4 considers the explicit intervention of regional modernism in late is that when many of her modernist compatriots had returned to America for economic and political reasons she instead stayed in Europe, continuing to write middl ebrow fiction for magazines like The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post and modernist novels that were remarkable for their combination of domestic narratives, family romance, and war polemics. Important to her project was a regional scaf folding that made a middling connection between cosmopolitan Europe and the American prairie. Boyle not only rejected New Yorker s quip that the magazine a
27 middle class, middlebrow population with news of the avant garde and the developments of an increasingly fascist Europe. Moreover, Boyle is significant to my narrative as an example of the cultural estrangement that regional modernists experience in the postwar moment. Having written about romantic relationships, unconventional family politics, and criticisms of American war efforts, Boyle found herself both marginalized in literary circles and investigated in the House Un American Activities Committee. and cultural norms by writing about outr subjects, she also politicized them. Therefore, and its a ttendant Americanization: middlebrow journalism and domestic fiction become strategic regionalist examples of a relativist Americanism, where domestic politics and foreign policy intersect. In my final chapter, I examine the cultural extensions of regional modernism for architecture. This turn to architectural theory and practice is crucial given the ways in which architecture offers a framework for the larger cultural connections between late modernism and regional modernism. Indeed, the conversations am ong modernists like Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Lewis Mumford, and Paul Rudolph not to say provide important commentary on the significance of place, geographical context, vernacular cultu re, and international style for modernism beyond the disciplinary boundaries of architecture. I read Mahony Griffin as a particularly feminist intervention of regional modern ism in the
28 shift in her postwar writing to a politics of regional modernism that ha s at its core a more materialist engagement with the social and political function of domestic housing. Specifically, in her 1949 expatriate narrative, The Magic of America Mahony Griffin both comparatively reads American regional planning and Australian town planning and read Mahony Griffin as a case study that marks the limits of regional modernism in the transition between modernist and late modernist modalities: her focus on the domestic politics of regional modernism particularly with regard to issues of class, gender, and environmentalism differentiate her from the unpolitical stylizations of her more formalist contemporaries. More to the point, Mahony Griffin writes an architectural history that makes an explicit connection between vernacular and international modernisms and the competing pressures of top down global capitalism and bottom up regional planning. In this period of late modernism The Magic of Amer ica speaks not regional planning also provides a groundwork for city planners like Jane Jacobs who, especially in her 1961 The Life and Death of Great American Cities, combined a regional push toward decentralization pairing, for example, the antimodern plan of plan for a kind of national architecture that might remodel American civilization by way of the interdependence of street, neighborhood, district, city, region, an d nation.
29 Indeed, this final chapter will act as a coda to my dissertation project, specifically interrogating one question: what happens to cultural nationalism in the American refused in favor of a streamlined, metropolitan modernity? Putting Cather, Larsen, Stein, Powell, Boyle, and Mahony Griffin in dialogue with other regional modernists makes clear the sorts of issues that many male regional modernist writers, painters, and architects like Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Grant Wood, Wright, and Mumford overlooked. These female figures complicate themes like the family, the home, dome sticity, and local color. But given the diversity within my list of six women writers especially given the range of their sexual orientations, political alignment, and class affiliations that there is a plurality of viewpoints on these themes becomes all the more significant given their attempt to expand the parameters of modernism as a direct counter to the developing ideology of phrasing, my female figures not only challe nge the modernist ideologues of American New Criticism, Southern Agrarianism, and MoMA Architecture, to name but a few, but they also challenge the conservative political developments of Cold War America. Thus, the significance of their collective proje ct is the contested space of regional modernism, specifically, and the domestic front, generally. Rather than proffering modernism and indeed high modernism as the exclusive domain of the highbrow and elite, these women incorporate elements of mass or pop ular culture to consider the ways in which modernism necessarily responds to middlebrow and middle class
30 narratives. Rather than politicking a nave concept of American democratic tradition as the new global order, these women trouble the theory and praxi s of a blanket democracy at home and abroad. And rather than proclaiming the exceptionalism of America, these women ground their nationalism (their praises and their critiques) in what can be construed as a cross regional to global cultural relativism.
31 CHAPTER 2 RETURNING TO DOMESTI C CULTURE: WILLA CAT HER, NELLA LARSEN, AND REGIONAL MODERNISM This chapter begins by writing a set of parentheses around the 1920s in the careers of Willa Cather and Nella Larsen. For both women, despite radically different subject positions and literary alignments, the 1920s marks not only their self conscious rejection of a massified American modernity but also their troubling of the cultural logic of modernism. Their interventions, doubly located in this person al and cul tural politics, argue for a reconsideration of gender, domesticity, and local culture within American with modernist convention to highlight their larger considerations of gender, domesticity and geography in the theory and practice of modernism. What both women consider, and what I argue they contribute to modernist thinking, include questions of feminism on peripheral frontiers, the politicization of domestic space, th e function of race and ethnicity in marking the boundaries of uneven development, and the overlap of local and international concerns within modernism. To that extent, I see their respective 1922 and 1924 breaks as a respatialization of modernism towards an explicit regionalist politics. Thus, while the pairing of Cather and Larsen is unexpected, particularly given the conventional view of these women as modernists Cather as a prairie novelist who, throughout her career, fights the stigmas of local color and political conservatism in an attempt to prove her modernism, and Larsen as an urban figure who is considered a modernist by dint of her associations with the Harlem Renaissance it is in the intersection of their literary politics that I see a conceptua l break from previous theorizations of modernism. More provocative than the pairing of Cather and Larsen is
32 the parentheses around their spatializing of gender as a cultural terrain and namely, Narrative Breaks and Peripheral Modernism In her 1936 introduction to Not Under Forty and prejudices recalled in these sketches slid back into yester alignment, subject matter, and aesthetic theory. In the years prior to 1922, Cather had O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), and My Antonia (1918) had afforded her both levels of both form and content changed. Instead of continuing work on prairie novels she expanded her scope; she wrote a novel about World War I, One of Ours (1922), which was much criticized by veteran novelists like Ernest Hemingway and for which The New Republic which troubles the use of realism in modern writing; and began House which meditates on the uses of regionalism as a movement. 1 ld generational, gendered, and aesthetically polemic statement on twentieth century literature 1 Merrill Mag After the World Broke in Two: The Later Novels of Willa Cather informed my
33 More than charting her development as a no velist (or the sharp turn her career took at its midpoint) Cather also seems to be commenting on larger social, historical, and political trends in American culture. On this level, Cather seems to be locating a break: categories of writing in the years be fore 1922 (modes of narration, choice of content, and aesthetic style) seem incongruous in the years following 1922. Based on this break, and using Thomas Mann as a pivot for orienting writers on either side of the break, Cather classifies these categorie backwardness (v). Age being at least forty years old seems to be a marker of this generational split. But having been born by 1882 is more than an arbitrary distinction. In this year John D. Rockefeller unites his holdings into the Standard Oil Trust, Jesse James is assassinated and Billy the Kid is memorialized in biography, and Germany, Italy, and Austria Hungary form the Triple Alliance. In this historical moment, we can production to industrial capitalism, and we can see the end of the frontier written into the social fabric of American history through the neut ralization in death or in writing of its outlaws. And in the realm of international politics, we can see not only the political formations that would inevitably lead to world war, but also World War I as marking the end of one imperial order centered in t he United Kingdom (and to a lesser extent Europe) and the emergence of a global imperial order centered in the United States. That is to say, in this triangulation of economic, social, and political events to which she adds a literary break I would argue that Cather is developing a theory of modernism.
34 to read a movement from realism and naturalism towards a theorization of modernism. align herself with literary modernism. According to Cather, writing must break with imaginatively the material and soc ial investiture of their characters; to present their Not Under Forty 48). But Cather seems unwilling to subscribe completely to modernism proper. For example, Joan Acocella writes, Cather could never be mistaken for a nineteenth century writer. Her austere style is part of modernist classicism; her tragic vision, part of modernist pessimism. But the nobility of her characters, and the privacy she allows them, are an inheritance from the nineteenth centu ry, one that did not go down well in the twenties, a decade determined to throw off the nineteenth century. Furthermore, Cather looked and acted her age. She read modernist literature and liked some of it. She admired Virginia Woolf and adored Proust, b ut she did not see herself as part of a movement. (23) While Cather agrees that the form and content of the novel must reflect the modern conditions of the twentieth century, she refuses to move her novels in a direction that either ignores the provinces, the vernacular, or the regional or argues from a position of conservative type of modernism ( Not Under Forty 48 49). Similar to the way that Cather maps modernism as the coordination of local and international axes, Larsen considers the way in which literature and artistic practice might imagine new social and cultural possibilities as she relates the region to the globe and vice versa. For example, Larsen considers the effects of a domesticated
35 regionalism, cultural nationalism, and European cosmopolitanism on black female he inverse direction of in dialogue with the larger movements of both the Harlem Renaissance and American modernism and later crafts her concept of modernism to include more regional concerns. What th is ambidextrous alignment demonstrates is the ways in which her political persuasions and narrative approach are necessarily informed by both the black middle class and the Harlem avant garde. But it is precisely this conjunction of middle class conservat ism with literary avant movement; although her identity is a parsing of conservative and leftist agendas toward material conditions and social relations, her literary politics turns on th e exclusion of the black middle class and the black intelligentsia insists that a conservative politics might work for a radical poetics. Two moments read together ma rk the development of an almost polemical feminist consciousness in her work. The first moment is the 1924 Civic Club dinner that There Is Confusion but that more successfully celebrated the h eight of popularity and political efficacy of the Harlem Renaissance movement here coined the New Negro Movement and to mark the transition of the leadership of W. E. B Du Bois, Crisis and the older generation to Charles S. Johnson, Opportunity and the n ew writers led by Alain Locke. For Larsen, still not a part of the Harlem literary world as she had not published any writing, it became clear with the dismissal of Fauset making her honorary dinner a platform for
36 movement politics and ignoring her work i n development of the literary movement that women, not to say feminism, had little place in the New Negro Movement. The second moment is the publication of a letter in the September 1926 edition of Opportunity in which Larsen writes a defense of Walter W Flight On the one hand, this letter is important because she situates herself squarely in literary modernism. Her reading ecoming activated] by the warm breath of Galsworthy, Sherwood Anderson, and Carl Van Vechten, as well as by arguing that modern character development must be read as contingent upo n material conditions, social construction, and human psychology (Horne 227). But beyond establishing her modernist credentials, Larsen differentiates her modernism from that being described in Opportunity by making explicit a connection between gender a nd sexuality and space and place for racialized modern subjects. For things for the f her lack of belonging in New Orleans, French Canada, Atlanta, or Harlem lonely v e or better
37 sacrificed when Mimi returns to the black world after passing for white in New York spirit, a position of eminence which she has developed out of the soul sweat of her upon the distinction between material and spiritual needs (295). But more importa nt Flight to underline the way in which American society operates as a racist system in which structural inequalities limit material success or spiritual fulfillment. In her analysis, because Mimi travels around the nation in hopes of living respectably, with life experiences including an unplanned pregnancy, condemnation by the black bourgeoisie, labor in the working class, and her decision to pass as white, White demonstrates not only that M predilection toward white values systems denies black culture and removes her from a black community no matter her location, but also that her experience of racism, sexism, and classism are constructed differently in each place. I want to suggest th at this regional patterning in Flight especially in her first novel Quicksand (1928). I want to stress that Cather and Larsen are not alone in readapting the tenets of modernism for their own in terests. Susan Hegeman has argued that it is possible to read modernism as addressing paradoxes of uneven development both as generational modernism in which its creators can be seen to have held the relationship between past Patterns 24). Thus, as a
38 ucers pointed towards a nexus of intellectual, within the context of what might be Patterns 23). Given this framework of peripheral mo dernism, it is not only possible to read response to the historical experience of modernity and capitalist modernization; it is also possible to read adherents of a more conserv ative type of American modernism like Cather and Larsen as intersecting with the peripheral origins of many of international from Prague, Pablo Picasso from Spain, and Serge i Diaghilev from Russia all transpose like gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and religious orientation, laid out by Gertrude Stein, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust. But to this constellar definition of peripheral modernism, especially in the context of American culture, we should pause to consider what happens to the progress toward modernization and the representations of uneven modernity when conservative approaches to modernism hold in tension seemingly contradictory spatial elements like localism and internationalism and issues of identity politics like race, class, and gen der. Specifically, I am interested in the ways in which seemingly conservative modernists might differently experience modernity in both American regions and international travel and indeed comparatively write about the historical and self perceived histo rical differences. More to the point, I am interested in the way that by simultaneously
39 insisting on vernacular, regional interests and cosmopolitan, global relations cultural conservatives like Cather and Larsen argue for a dialectic of regional modernis m. Domesticating Regional Modernism first consider the larger uses of regionalism in forming American culture. In his reading of the regionalist movement in America, Robert Dorm an has suggested that the American land shapes a national consciousness, creating a historical imperative in which national identity subsumes the regional and the idea of regionalism constitutes the idea of America. More specifically, Dorman offers a peri odization of the comparative uses of regionalism in a modern American context: how regionalism moves from being a means of stabilizing the nation state and consolidating national power in the eighteenth century to being a critique of hegemonic nationalism and an antidote to a catastrophist modernity in the twentieth century. Locating the seeds of the regionalist the homogenized caricature of community life that artists a nd intellectuals found so e and preserve the culture of the Reading Cather and Larsen in this regional context proves instructive. Indeed, ent in America from 1920 world of the twentieth century, a home not merely metapho rically but literally and
40 the causes and effects of a global modernism on this disti nctly American regionalism. be it, among other things, in the form of nationalism, locality, building, domesticity forces a more relativist consideration of global influences beyond American borders or the limits of ex ceptionalism. Whereas Dorman pointedly argues that the 1920s and the 1930s were a period marked by a nativist impulse to define an American concept of culture distinct from what had been nt to complicate his land locked reading of the regionalism movement (14). Instead, I want to suggest that regionalism should necessarily be considered a dialectic other to modernism; meaning, a r egional modernism must consider not only the past and present, center and periphery, and nation and region in dialectical tension, but also the relationship between the region and the world. As Hegeman has noted, in the twentieth century leading up to Wor ld War II, a peripheral modernism regionalist movement had transnational extensions as eastern and southern Europe Patterns 22). Fr modernist affiliation: one, where the two movements participate in similar projects for the domestication of culture; and the other, where ideology and politics preclude cultural ali gnment. On the one hand, because American modernism had to reconcile the social, economic, and political effects of American modernization, modernism as a cultural
41 movement necessarily had to position all patterns of development in relation to an emerging global economy. If regionalism can be read as a kind of peripheral modernism, and indeed regionalism and modernism similarly participate in what Warren cultural concept of regionalism as working through larger international effects of incomplete modernization like global economies during the Depression, the development of European fascism, or the spectre of Soviet communism for workers on a subnational level (154). However, on the other hand, because nativist regionalists Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and the Southern Agrarians, for example arrayed themselves against the more cosmopolitan modernism of New York, there are marked limi tations to a liberal alignment of local interests and internationalism within a regionalist purview. The regional modernism I am arguing for refuses blanket distinctions between the cultural and political agendas of the regionalists and the interwar modern ist generation. 2 On a theoretical level, because both groups emphasize parallel concepts of place physical entity and space e of I see their work toward an integrated culture as compatible (Dorman 23; Hegeman, Patterns 4 5). This mea ns that 2 Specifically, Dorman argues that if regionalists were to join the interwar modernist generation in an suggests a degree of cultural alienation, on the part of the regionalists, for this shaky alliance: the urban privilege of the movements predominantly centered in New York City, favoring issues of immigration, ethnic boroughs, and factor work to the exclusion of rural America and its folk, community, and farming traditions (23).
42 in their attempt to theorize a distinctly American culture, regional modernists necessarily consider the form this culture takes as a comparative project of local, regional, national, and global interests. On a practical level, a handful of Americ ans writing in this moment Cather and Larsen being my examples in this chapter blur the distinctions between the new regionalist and peripheral modernist movements by writing about particularism and internationalism, the vernacular and the cosmopolitan, th e rural and the urban, the subnational and the national, the regional and the global in the same text. For example, if Dorman argues that American history is simultaneously marked by the congruence of regionalist and modernist movements and the tension be tween federalism versus states rights, Cather and Larsen complicate this dialectic by forcing a consideration of the global (or put differently, the international, the transatlantic, or the transnational). In addition to writing about effects of place, cl ass, gender, and race in different American regions (in the Midwest, in the South, in the Southwest, and in New York City) and in Europe, these women also consider the effects of this regional matrix on American individual identity and national consciousne ss abroad. What this means, then, is that regional modernism tarries within a domesticated national if not nationalist culture, only to question the influence of the regional and the global on modern American life. My reading of Cather and Larsen defines regional modernism by example. In this descriptive definition, in part because I am using two women writers as my exemplars of this modernist movement, it is necessary to acknowledge that there is a gendered inflection to my reading. But let me be clear: I am not suggesting that this is exclusively a movement of women writers, artists, intellectuals, or critics. Indeed, it is
43 possible to read some male moderns considering the relationships between regional and global issues in their modernism among other s, Frank Lloyd Wright whose architecture responds to the Beaux Arts and International Style; William Carlos Williams whose In the American Grain attempts to address American culture in terms of its origins in global capitalism; William Faulkner whose south ern novels reference decolonization movements and Atlantic trade; and B. A. Botkin whose historical scholarship emphasizes the heterogeneous racial, ethnic, religious, and class influences on regional folk culture. Williams, for example, argues that a par ticularly American modernism must be read as a totality of place. For Williams, modernism necessarily has regional inflections as a poet must travel to both Virginia and China in however, is the implicit distinction that regionalisms will always be in the service of is merely a variant serving to locate acme point of white pen etration. The intensification 3 Modernism becomes the white space that envelops local color. The Williams example instructively sets the parameters of what I am describing as a gendered regional modernism. The first distinction that limits the participation of Williams and certainly the majority of male moderns in the project of regional modernism is the association with the feminized (and often domestic or sentimental) genre of local color. As Williams makes clear, the local is modern insofar as it is a 3 Important to note regarding this reading of place in a modernist context, Williams is describing the work of Marianne Moore.
44 regionalism, cannot in and of themselves be modernist. Not only does Williams circumscribe the politics of local color as content, he also implicitly participates in a hierarchization of literary genre where local color, because it is not modern, is anecdote is referencing: at the same time that she reminds her readers that she is transitioning out of the feminized genre of local color towards modern literature, she also is reminding that she will forever be associated with the older burdens of her career. Thus, the second larger d istinction centers on a more sustained consideration of the domestic as content in their cultural formations. That is to say, if regional en writing in the context of regional modernism recover the domestic, to paraphrase Williams, as an acme point of the intersection of both movements. For me, gender becomes a point of entry into the place of regional modernism in the discourse of modernit y in the twentieth century. This allows for a consideration of regionalism and modernism that destabilizes the consensus of its predominantly male group of theorists including among others, George Santay a na, Van Wyck Brooks, Randolph Bourne, Waldo Frank, Harold Stearns, Carl Van Doren, Lewis Mumford, Ralph Borsodi, Carey McWilliams, Grant Wood, and Howard Odum who often positioned gender within these movements as more often epithetic (the feminization of the nation, the domestication of daily living, the r ise of consumer culture) than evaluative. 4 Reading women writing a regional modernism puts in tension 4 Waldo Frank, Our America (1919); Civilization in the United States: An Inquiry by Thirty Americans
45 principles of interiority and exteriority, place and consciousness, femininity and masculinity, center and periphery. The critical question becomes, how might a productive inclusion of gender into the culture debates between the 1920s and 1950s refigure the relationship between regionalism and modernism? Cather and Larsen certainly combine regionalism and modernism in conventional ways: they treat the i ntersection of both movements as ways to map the cultural exchanges between region, nation, and world; likewise, their emphasis on geography within both movements becomes a way for them to conceptualize history, particularly the ways in which shifts in mod es of production and uneven development affect daily living. But the literal local to international travel they write into their novels narrates not only the transitions between different modes of capitalism existing simultaneously (and tenuously) within the American nation but also the differences between the modernization of American regions and a European modernity. What becomes important in this movement is that their regional modernism most explicitly deals with the causes and effects of incomplete m odernization on the regional level as America becomes a global power or at the very least asserts a larger influence on the international politics, economics, and art. Thus, their regionalism which is to say, their modernism necessarily considers the regi on in relation to the globe. Cather and Larsen become important figures in the periodization of regional modernism because they put in tension the limitations of regionalism and modernism as period and as process; they underscore that there become gendered implications for This Ugly Civil ization (1929) and Flight from the City (1933); Carey McWilliams, The New Regionalism in American Literature (1930); and Grant Wood, Revolt Against the City (1935).
46 regionalism and modernism as socio historical movements and as cultural discourses. In their writings, they reorient the domestic within regional modernism so the local and the vernacular are expanded to include issues of home, domestici ty, and a gendered division of labor; and so the expanded content of the developing middle class and its shifting daily living can be read relationally to world affairs. What is new about their approach to modernism is that they always force a return of m odernism be it national or international their discomfort with the bourgeois ethos emergent in the mi ddle class and to resist the standardization dominating American living. Their conservative approach to regional modernism underlines that if the project of building an integrated culture is possible, it must return to sites of domestic culture as home, community, region, nation, and world. Willa Cather: Regionalism Repairing Toward Modernism Not Under Forty Besides offering a periodization of modern American literature and offering a theory of what her modernism might look like I want to elaborate that Cather also offers a praxis for reformulating modernist writing. Immediately before she offers 1922 as the breaking point toward modernism, she offers a discl Cather is offering two signposts simultaneously a stop sign and a caution sign: fir st, she is arguing that realism and naturalism as the dominant modes of narration leading into the twentieth century no longer prove adequate for writing about American
47 modernity; and second, she is implying that modernism does not prove incompatible with certain narrative forms already in use to describe American culture. Given her provincial and the modern simultaneously, and the cultural power of regionalism beginning in the 1920s, Cather seems to be pointing to the possible uses of regionalism in a modernist context. And by extension, it is possible to argue that what is under As early as 1920, in writing likewise was amenable to change (103). What simplification would mean for literature, and what su conventions of form and what detail one can do without and yet preserve the spirit of the whole consciousness as much as To her interrogation of modern literature in 1920 and her at tempt to broach modernism as both a period of development and a set of formal and stylistic concerns content equally as political. If in 1920 Cather is interested in writing a new modern literature that is opposed to the manufacture of stock stories according to market demand, a key move for dissociating herself from some of the pejorative connotations of local color, in 1931 she is even more critical about the way the choice of content can
48 ards modernist forms also includes a regionalist content. It is almost a truism to suggest that the form as a regionalized opposition to a massified modernity, beginning as early as 1917 with O Pioneers! However, somet hing dramatically alters in the mid 1920s when Cather dismisses realism and tries to reformulate her writing toward modernism. That is to say, rather than writing merely in opposition to the lost world of the pioneer or tracing the way in which the West s tandardizes as the frontier closes, Cather becomes concerned with the way in which her regional modernism might create new forms of narrative and new modes of life. She becomes aware of the way in which her writing might be implicated in processes beyond making art; she becomes more vocal about the critical capacity that her writing might have when life and art intersect beyond representation. But at the same time that she recognizes that choices of form and content are implicitly political, Cather oppose s the idea of putting art in the service of politics. 5 By 1936, in a Commonweal individual 5 politics is example.
49 langu polemical. First, responding to critics who deem her work too conservative, Cather fires bac k that from adulteration and from the intrusion of foreign matter; considerations and purposes 27). Cather refuses any identification with a movement that requires total acquiescence to a political party or artistic style. 6 Second, Cather opens up this political stance in terms of a more specific s modernity of her continued writing of pioneer novels. Instead of writing about respatializes the scope of American writing and destabilizes the American literary (708, 710). By insisting on writing about the rural Midwest and small town America, need not conform to the idea that writers must be socially responsible intellectuals. Certainly this move in and of itself is reactionary. Partly because of the attacks leveled on her by 1930s intellectuals and partly because she subscribed to 1890s 6 worn, and confines itself to regarding the grey of a wet oyster shell against the sand of a wet beach through a drizzle of rain, has not produced anything very memorable: not even when the workm anship was good and when a beat in
50 variation of midwestern progressivism, Cather maintained what Hermione Lee describes eco nomic s conservatism in fact has a deliberate politics (710). On the one hand, this polit ics intersects with larger progressive regionalist currents. Defiantly writing pioneer novels throughout the 1930s becomes a rejection of the closing of the American frontier, instead arguing for the continued relevance of regional uneven development for national culture and domestic policy. In this formulation, Cather refuses cultural and political distinctions between regionalism and modernism in the years between 1922 and 1940. Like leading regionalist figures Thomas Hart Benton, Lewis Mumford, and Ch arles Beard, Cather believed that regionalism could be a cultural salve to machine age essential importance of linking localized contemporary social, geographic, and econo either localist or leftist terms, her project quarrels with what Erika Doss reads as her me While neither accepting nor refusing the ways in which her fellow regionalists politicize culture as repub lican populist or socialist cultural links between the local and the global, the community and the individual.
51 On the other hand, the intersection of global politics with regional cultures marks permanent sphere of cultural influences and as a center of economic activ ities, as well embeddedness (94). For Cather, this means subscribing to the modernist project of making art reflective of the changing world ind of so long as alignment with this project her regional modernism becomes a geographical alternative to the broad historical 7 Against the popular narrative beginning in efforts to define the period as a contradiction between a spaceless and spatially difference, and national boundaries as a challenge to the economic a nd cultural globalization complicit with the logics of capitalist expansion (2). Her pioneer novels, therefore, become a metonymy for her larger literary project: an argument for geographical history that reads geography and history in dialectic relations hip; an argument against political conformism and polemical literature; an argument for the the standardization of national culture at the expense of local color. 7 See Henry Life 61 65.
52 It is this hesitancy, her strain between conservatism and progressivism, regionalism and modernism that lead me to read Cather as a regional modernist a classification that does not argue away the ambidexterity or contradiction in her association with region alism and modernism as periods and processes. That is to say, the category of regional modernism allows for multiple emphases on the simultaneity of processes of modernization and the cultural logics of regionalism. In terms of this olitics, one of the tensions produced between modernism and regionalism is a focus on typicality within modernity a renewed focus on the transformative power of daily living, or the quotidian, in modern life. In this framework, the transformation of the p ioneers into the middling middle class, the shift from an individualist work ethic to machine age standardization, the writing away from integrated regional life toward individualism as alienation and fragmentation, the privileging of a homogenizing Americ an cultural history at the expense of folk traditions, become arguments for the regional modernist writing against th e conformity of massification. she is a conservative insofar as she is an individualist (which, in turn, is associated with her rejection of big government and the politicizing of criticism in the thirties); and she is a progressive insofar as she protests against a nascent massified culture (which, in turn, is asso ciated with both the capitalist culture industry and fascism). In terms of political and cultural alignment, she falls somewhere between the conservative regionalism of the Southern Agrarians, for example, who modeled regionalism as a kind
53 of reactionary who saw regionalism as an antidote to fascism. 8 Defending this challenge to American literary tradition and her tenuous alignment with both regionalists and the thirties Left, Cather off ers a typically modernist explanation for breaking conventions to invent, however conservative, new forms of 27). The writer figure, therefore, is doubly characterized both as the creator of this new mode of narration and a typical representative of this new mode of living. In this approach to literature, the writer must make the unive rsal and the typical her subject so that a certain amount of individuality and agency might emerge from an engagement with the contradictions of modern life. To write about typical characters is in part to write critically about modernity. Here Cather co mplicates her political alignment a final time by way of a dialectic approach to literature, foiling again her straight characterization as conservative: the individual, as character, is also representative of the group, and vice versa. Therefore, like Ge org Lukcs, who writes in his 1936 essay inner life [at the same time that] it pro vides a significant reflection of the general its settlement, its embourgeoisement, its commodification as a means to intensify the 8 See The Cultural Front: The helped me to trace out this political continuum.
54 problems of contemporary society and, by extensio n, to imagine possible solutions (151). In her novels, we can pattern the way in which her regional modernism reworks the typical in different geographic and social contexts: a middling character is dissatisfied with his lived environment and turns to the regional or the international as cultural alternatives to what he perceives to be stagnant local or national options. What regional modernism does is show a kind of cultural breakdown as experienced by a ms as representative of a larger social, political, and economic conditions; offer historicity, folk aesthetics, and European traditions as comparative models for the reform of modern America; and tease out the ways that the typical character and his indiv idual situation proves (and likewise does not prove) amenable to change. For example, One of Ours the novel that provides the conventional plot in this narrative styl e: Claude Wheeler is a Nebraska farmer discontented with his farm work, his unhappy marriage, and his limited cultural pursuits. Representative of the disconnected pre war American youth, Claude is a typical modern American who must deal with the effects o f modernization, ranging from mechanization of the family farm, to expanded gender roles, to middle class ennui, to the beginnings of modern American imperialism. Claude makes various attempts to escape his dissatisfying life first to the state university where he takes an interest in European history and finally to the army where he volunteers to defend France in the First World being pulled out of university by his utilitarian father to run the expanding family farm or being killed in action by German shells underlines the
55 difficulty (if not impossibility) an individual faces in any attempt to challenge larger social or historical forces. failure at the moment he is about to trans cend his typicality must be gauged in relation to the hopefulness of the solutions that Cather offers: education and transnationalism. In this 1922 novel, both become ways to curb exceptionalist Americanism and even larger problems of an increasingly hegem onic Americanization. Cather makes clear in One of Ours that its amplitude that the Wheelers, all the Wheelers and the more rough necks and the low brows were caught up victory (282). Claude becomes a corrective because his false idealism in the global project of Americanism becomes an ideology of the postwar years and because his relativist approach to French culture is trumped in favor of an exceptionalist Americanism. By writing Claude as a character who desperately wants to transcend his typicality but ultimately fails, Cather can write against the material and social conditions that shaped her midd ling protagonist, particularly the complicity of business and politics in promoting consumerism and isolationi sm as the keystones of the post war life. World War I, which on first reading seems to be a heroic project toward individuation, on second reading becomes an example of the limitations of an American modernity.
56 Cather makes obvious the mobilization of individual idealism and nave nationalism in the service of expansionist business and politics; from the perspective of a French shopkeeper, Cather u any more than having money thrust at you by grown men who could not count, was business. It was an invasion, like the other. The first destroyed material possessions, and this One of Ours which was popularly castigated as a sentimentalized attempt by a woman to write about the war, becomes a critique of the war as an instrument of transnational American empire. ar critique is its return to the home front and corresponding return of the narrative of empire to the domestic realm. One of Ours believing his own country better than it is, and France better than any country can be. And those were beautiful beliefs to die with. Perhaps it was as well to see that vision, the cultural logic of empire informs the private sphere in contradictory ways. On the one hand, we can see a mother internalizing her son as dying a hero for what was supposed to be a virtuous cause. But on the other, we can see her hesitation to read the effects of the war as anything but protecting the status quo. Significantly, it is the prairie home that becomes a site of critique for the standardization of American society and a site of resistance to a narrow concept of national culture. Smith has similarly written about Am erican geo grapher Isaiah Bowman, who by his reading argues that a return to the frontier means a larger concern with the effects of modern pioneering on the lives of women In this context, Cather likewise suggests that it is especially in the feminized
57 spaces of t he frontier that the effects of twentieth century uneven development will be writ large. But whereas Bowman suggests that women are responsible for the negative attendan increased degree of government dependence, Cather locates in these women pioneers a degree of resistance to the negative forces of modernization ( Smith 224 225). For Cather, it is i n these typically feminine spaces the home, domestic scenes, family, local color etc. exist ing on the fringe of modern industrial America becoming, to use One of Ours makes clear, the frontier is no longer peripheral given the scope of American cultural and economic expansion and intervention in world politics; thus the global reach of American foreign policy might be replicated not only in national domestic policy but also in the internal affairs of region s themselves. What this return to the domestic means is that regional modernism becomes a diffuse political movement connecting the American provinces and the European 23). However, at the same time that Cather expands the American frontier to include the whole of North America Michigan, Canada, Arizona, Mexico, Virginia, Nebraska, etc. her cultural pluralism always
58 social order or its ideology is an advance of the national culture as a whole towards cultural logics of the American Century, by forcing regionalism and modernism to consider the effects of the home, the family, and domesticity as foundational for an integrated culture. Put differently, the way to transcend typicality is to reorient identity and community in perhaps the most quotidian of spaces the domestic. In her 1923 Nation attempts precisely that. Education and transnationalism, in a decidedly regional (238). Beginnin g in the prairie and moving eastward, Cather seems hopeful that this regional spirit will prove a counter to the rampant materialism and jingoistic nationalism shaping her contemporary moment. Invoking the historical legacy of the pioneer, Cather spins he up, machine that we may hope to see the hard molds of American provincialism broken up; that we may hope to find the young talent which will challenge the pale properties, the insincere, to the moral systems and regional sensibilities that had characterized the Midwest for t he better part of a century, would create links between the rural peripheries and the urban centers, between American provinces and European development, between old tradition and new progress, and between historicity and futurity. For example, A Lost
59 Lad y also published in 1923, might be read as bemoaning the loss of pioneers like the Forresters for modern America, but it also locates a degree of hopefulness in the younger generation as embodied by engineer Niel Herbert to recognize the loss of and to mo dernize (or better, to return to) pioneer sensibilities. Travel and education not to say ethnic identification, cultural relativism, faith in the land, or local political engagement are the ways Cather suggests that this cultural project might take root. typical in shaping modern life. By 1925, there are indications that this theory of regional modernism is impractical. Instead integrating an organic regional culture say Nebraska with modernist progress say, mechanization of the prairie and cultural relativism toward the we can see a more sustained meditation on the ways in which regionalism and modernism intersect as Cather attempts t o imagine an alternative cultural tradition. What becomes different for Cather in this moment is that she very explicitly considers the productive uses of both regionalism and modernism. Rather than abstractly pointing out the cultural spirit of the prai rie (its cleanliness, vigor, wo rk ethic, and pride in the land ), and rather than superficially commenting on the showy extravagance), Cather engages in a sustained readin g of the problems and benefits of both movements. Important to this comparative strategy is that domestic spaces become more rigorously considered as spaces that both promote modern complacency and allow for individuation; meaning, Cather pinpoints the pr oblem of typicality as central to the cultural project of regional modernism.
60 This process is writ large in her 1925 novel, In this text, the conventional Cather plot holds: Professor Godfrey St. Peter is a history professor at a sm all midwestern university, who is increasingly becoming dissatisfied: with his home life as his wife becomes tied up in the marital politics of their daughters, and as the impending move to a new house means leaving his beloved work space; with his school as his work in the humanities is being deprivileged in favor of more utilitarian courses of study; and with his scholarship as he wavers between writing an introduction to beloved Spanish Adventurers in North America Cather writes St. Peter as a typical man, experiencing the alienation, fragmentation, and boredom of the consolidating middle class but with one exception. The novel becomes a kind of thought experiment on the possibility of cultural change if the comparative uses of regional modernism are pushed to the extreme. That is to say, Cather provides her protagonist with the tools to escape his middling life, but it becomes more important for her project to see, on the level of cont ent, how a man from the older generation can use aspects of regionalism and modernism to reform his world, and on the level of form, how under the arc of regional modernism regional and modernist strategies might be used while avoiding reification. This double movement hinges on Tom Outland. He is the character exemplar of regional modernism. A pioneer, a railroad man, a cattle herder, an excavator, an the cultural work of regionalism is not incompatible with modernism; excavating the Blue Mesa and preserving its Indian artifacts in a museum exhibit are not incompatible with developing a patent for a new kind of aviation engine: both register the historical
61 specific ity of the moment one having the impulse towards preservation and one having the impulse toward progress and both foster a sense of historical continuity in which the past and the future are important concerns for contemporary American life. At the same t ime that Tom represents the intersection of these two movements, it is necessary that he likewise embodies what is perceived to be contradictory positions in American modernity the engineering power of the modernist and the organic notion of place of the r egionalist. On the one hand, the intersection of these two movements in the characterization of Tom is ideal because he troubles the contradiction of these modern subject positions. On the other hand, he marks the limits of this self division. His affil iation with regionalism and modernism uses him up, leaving only his idealized story Bridge ct of component parts but an evocation of the spiritual psychological state of the man whose life it represents. Its significance does not lie in its statement on design, but only in what the symbol reveals about the spiritual state of the person it repre would argue the same holds true for bridge represents a commitment to the waning values of the Romantic era and a up in a more relational idea of progress. That is to say, Cather seems to suggest that a new type of pioneering spirit embodied in Tom is being created on the frontier. It is not a use of the incompatibility of the projects per se so much as the use of both the man and his projects in larger American society.
62 of regional modernism. Indeed, Tom repre sents the idealism of the years prior to the world war prairie and that must necessarily end before the social, political, and economic policies of the dtente tarnish it. As St. P eter notes, in death Tom escaped the corrupting pressures of scientific renown, economic success, family life, and university politics, all had made something new in t he world and the rewards, the meaningless conventional regional modernist American culture might look like. And it becomes the task of the world he leaves behind the family, the university, the college town, the nation, etc. to therefore, is the various ways that the legacy of Tom Outland is used and to what ends. The question becomes what happens to Tom as the model of regional modernism once his work is profitable and commodifiable (236). Consideri ng this question, I am interested in the ways that Tom Outland (and his regional modernism) provide In a 1938 piece written for News Letter Cather wrote that the formal approach for The Professo consisted of two experiments: the first, using a device of French and Nouvelle into the Roman second, following the model of Dutch paintings of putting a window to the outside world
63 in t he middle of a domestic scene (30 1). What she hoped these two formal visions of America: with ne w things; American properties, clothes, furs, petty ambitions, quivering jealousies until one got rather stifled. Then I wanted to open the square window and let in the fresh air that blew off the Blue Mesa, and the fine disregard of trivialities which wa behavior. (31 32) With these authorial intentions as a starting point, it is possible to explore both what these visions of America might look like and how each of these visions shape the other; more to the point, it is p ossible to see Tom his life, his work, his America as a most basic level, in the novel this pattern forms in two ways: first, the book is broken into three sections which narrate the after his wife and the influence of his sons in law; and second, the book is composed of two modes of narration, the first and last being more modernist with their concerns of individuality, middle class values, and scientific progress, and the middle section being more regionalist with i approach to embedded cultures. What I want to suggest is that, rather than reading St. incongru ously narrated, the form of the novel allows us to see the way in which St. Peter is moving towards both patterns simultaneously. Likewise, if the formal logic of the novel intersects with Tom at its center, so too does the content. Therefore, The
64 Profes representative of the ideal regional modernism, in which center and periphery in all its manifestations are held in tension, his influence extends to both the public and private realm; therefore, at the same time that he is influencing public life in areas as diverse as the un iversity, science, politics, and regional planning, Tom is also influencing domestic life in relation to family, probate, and architecture. Both Tom and St. Peter underline that regional modernism is a cultural framework that subsumes the domestic and glo bal, the public and private to the extent that the home is the space in which St. Peter attempts to remake his world. In the novel there are five homes : the family home in which the St. Peters raised their daughters and in which St. Peter wrote Spanish Ad venturers in North America ; the new house built after the St. Peter daughters were married off and St. Peter had achieved a degree of economic and scholarly success as scientific success as engine inventor and their economic success as patent holders ; i ty The first two homes the old and the new St. Peter residences put in tension the conflicts of home life, centering predominantly on the division of gendered labor and classed expectations about domestic architecture. On the one hand, we can see the private world of the family house, what is nt, set in opposition to the public demeanor of the family household, dominated most often by the expectations
65 family, these private and public worlds converging: the famil y home becomes both a space of domesticity and a place for university labor. Given the merging of domestic functions in the novel, we can see St. Peter responding in contradictory ways to his first home and the functions that it is supposed to provide him : the new home being the like a man, and get used to the feeling that under his work room there was a dead, tioned as the family room was the most convenient study a man could possibly have, but it was the one place in the house where he could get isolation, insulation from the struction of and removal to the new house, the first house still remains a privileged space: it is a place that contains twenty years of family memories, evokes nostalgia for Tom and his development into an exemplary modern man, and creates a comfortable a nd proficient space for a tenure of work for the tenure of a professorship. It is the domestic space The problems of domestic architecture come in tw o forms. The first problem has to do with the role of the family in modern American life, particularly with the role of the family within an integrated culture and the place of the family home in creating organic alternatives to an increasingly plastic mo dernity. Here we can see the problem of the St. Peter s and public spheres, we can see the attendant gender and class politics open up to a
66 larger critique of middle class standard ization. In the same way that Frank Lloyd Wright made a career arguing for an organic architecture that would both build the family house as a modern escape and as a unit in a larger democratic process of decentralization and social reintegration, Cather considers the ways in which the domestic might better engage with modern living. 9 This is especially evident when St. Peter complains, at Cather, like Wright, is suggesting seems to be less a fixation on the ways in which identity politics have changed modern life than the ways differences can be deliberately rooted in a local ity but simultaneously reflect a national spirit; and for both of these modernists, a level of historical consciousness that extends from the family to the region through the international is required for such a democratic architecture. remo val (if not perversion) of the project of architecture from forming culture, instead positioning the home as a marker of culture. For example, the Marselluses build a house that they presume to be site appropriate for their wooded lot and midwestern local e. Describing their country estate to a visiting scholar, Louis Marsellus betrays that prim eval forest behind us and the lake in front, with our own beach. singularly fortunate in our architect, us a Norwegian manor house, very harmonious with its setting, just the right thing for a 9 Fo When Democracy Builds (1945).
67 less to do with a building style appropriate to geography than building a style of home reflective of their desired bourgeois lifestyle. A manor house, after all, has historical links to being the administrative center for landed gentry. Compounding their problem converting the fun ction of the home from a dwelling space to a monument of scientific progress and class status. This class businessmen Louis supplants engineer anthropologist Tom, marking what Cather sees as the modernism architecture becomes both a process of design and construction and a project of cultural formation. The combination of shifting domestic spaces and competing s cholarship creates a notable change in St. Peter. As he takes up the project of regional modernism that typicality; meaning, in true modernist fashion, St. Peter makes clear tha t there is a connection between interior consciousness and exterior world. Significantly, this consciousness is grounded in a regional sensibility. Recognizing that he cannot complete the unfinished project that Tom represents (a synthesis between histor ical excavations and scientific progress, a smoothening of the private and public realms of
68 life, a combination of the pioneer and the engineer) St. Peter instead attempts to ground the project in his own terms, making what had been work grounded primarily in nostalgia more future oriented. He realizes that he had become concerned with in society and solitude, with people, with books, with the sky and open country, in the lonesomeness of crowded had become intere cannot be only a scholar, and he cannot return to his days of exploration with Tom. Rather, to reorient his world as regional modernism, he must do both things simultaneously. T hus, in his framework, the combination of the domestic and the public and the modern and the regional, he must be both a lover and an explorer. There is a limit to the ways in which St. Peter might reorient his life to be by the end of the novel he has figured out how he might overcome the alienation of his modern condition, St. Peter must still cohabit with a ever realize that he wa s not the same man they had said good would return from their European travels Berengaria and the futur understanding of what it takes for one person to come to regional modernism as a personal philosophy and a cultural logic; but we are also left with a with a question of
69 what the consequences of th is new futurity might mean for modernity. Since Tom Outland and Godfrey St. Peter both offer examples of this process on an individual level, we can anticipate that for this process of individuation to become a cultural movement might be a monumental task But there is also a certain degree of pessimism if not failure remain ambiguous: there will be a new approach to domesticity, and there will be a return to the frontier with southwestern mesa s and Spanish explorers. Perhaps this is moving beyond the causes and effects of in dividuation, must look to the past to find alternative histories that offer different types of pioneers and different forms of domestic settlement. In this way, rather than being only a reactionary escape from her modern moment, Death Comes for the Archbi shop (1927) and Shadows on the Rock (1931) Nella Larsen: Transatlantic Modernism in a Regional Context to her 192 6 Opportunity modernism turns on the concept of place, first showing the ways in which American modernity necessarily constructs and maintains particular normative notions of gender, class, and ra ce, and then offering the intersection of feminist politics with a politics of place as a challenge the expectations and enactments of identity. Larsen begins her novel by positioning Quicksand Flight tenuou sly positioned between the black bourgeoisie and the white middle classes; both women find themselves torn between a need for respectability and a desire for
70 individual autonomy; both women figure themselves as simultaneously sexually independent and domes tically bound; and both women travel the nation in hope s of improving their material, social, and psychological lives. However, there are two exceptions to this patterning. First, Larsen expands the travel to include Denmark. What this travel abroad doe s is expand the race question beyond the problems of black nationalism, instead working toward a black cultural consciousness that forces a consideration of the local and the cosmopolitan. Second, rather than ending her narrative at the moment her heroine makes the most difficult decision of her life, to responses to them. Quicksand that Larsen differentiates her concept of m odernism from the Harlem crowd by arguing for a more stringent feminist materialist bent and by incorporating a regional consciousness. Quicksand and constructs a spatial network that challenges both the real and imaginary problems of the color line (204). Her regional modernism, therefore, complicates the construction of a national c ultural id entity by considering race, class, and gender in relation to place. difference within geographical terrains of region, nation, and world than a kind of citizenship argu ing for sameness on the basis of a shared nationalism (Carby, then becomes, how does this regional modernism work in the context of a black feminist politics? Or put differently, how does Larsen contribute
71 to the reading of a domestic politics by narrating the effects of different contexts of home genealogy, family, community, among others on the modern racialized, gendered subject? With Quicksand this politics is writ large. Larsen writes a regional framework for America, m apping at least three ways in which a relation of the regional to the global focus on spatial culture calls into question the construction of the individual in a local, national, and international context. What she does is highlight the cultural complexity that puts in tension material differences and social formations on group and individual levels. In this way, Larsen pulls tight on a line connecting cultural formatio ns and identity politics. Second, as a development of the first point, Larsen spatializes local and international differences, writing in opposition to a 1920s bourgeois ideology in which urbanization transformed the production of African American culture and privileged the cultural representations of the black middle class often to the exclusion of the rural or working class Finally, Larsen counters this national representation by making an explicit connection between vernacular and international moderni sms: she links southern, midwestern, and Harlem regionalisms with European cosmopolitanism to create a transnationalism that reconsiders gender, class, and race identification both from top down global capitalism and bottom up regional planning. Therefore her modernist regional framework not only elaborates on the structural and cultural consequences of a kind of limiting nationalism, but also imagines an alternative history in which regionalism and globalism intersect, forming an integrated culture in wh ich
72 nationalism is forced to consider the multitude of communities within and outside its borders. This process hinges on Helga Crane. Larsen characterizes her protagonist as a typical modern character, writing Helga as suffering from alienation produce d by an internalization of her racial difference and fragmentation exacerbated by existing social relations that limited her level of belonging in gendered, raced, and classed contexts. In large part, this combined sense of alienation and fragmentation tu as a mixed race woman: as a mulatta, Helga not only perceives herself as having no community and her white relatives, but she also materially suf fers from American a s Hazel Carby has argued, in the character of Helga, Larsen embodies the crisis of representation prevalent in the modernist moment of 1920s Harlem. Because Larsen was unable to Reconstructing 169 ). To that Quicksand ( R econstructing 170). But to this reading of modern characterization, I want to emphasize the effect of place on problems of identity; to this crisis of representation, I want to emphasize that Larsen is also narrating crises of place. In addition to readi ng the dialectic al relation between subject formation and geographic location, which is
73 framework in which a network of regional cultures explodes the limits of political boundaries particularly the limits of nationalism to create a black cultural identity. a national culture, race affiliation, and class prescriptions. What Larsen makes clear i s inequalities put in tension regions and their modes of production, and the way suc h South to the industrial North from Naxos to Chicago and finally to Harlem as an allegorical representation of the Great Migration of southern blacks in the years betwee n World War I and the Great Depression (Carby, Reconstructing 163). Carby points o ut that, especially in the post war years, this migratory population of black workers challenged the cultural and political leadership of the (predominantly Northern) black i ntellectual elite: what would become the urban proletariat could no longer be Reconstructing 164). Indeed, this is a common project among Harlem Renaissance writers. Alain Locke, Jean Toomer, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston, among others, narrate pr ecisely the ways the movement fro m the South to the North respatializes the color line and its attendant identity, cultural, and political formati from the works of the Harlem writers writing on the Great Migration and, more, from writers like James Weldon Johnson and Claude McKay who consider the effects of expatriation on black male
74 subjectivity and cultural autonomy is the fact that she sets up a comparative framework for the social political and economic terrains of the places in which Helga travels, be the y country or city, South or North, America or Europe. On the level of plot, at the same t ime that Quicksand Europe also provide an alternative to these narratives in that one fictional space is not favored over ano ther (Carby, Reconstructing 172). For Larsen, however, more important is the idea that geographical movement is bound up with the place of gender in the larger race politics. Her spatial project critiques the body of work by male Harlem writers that, as Barbara Johnson has modernism makes explicit feminist overtures by pointing to the marginality of black women both in the context of American daily living and representation in Harlem Renaissance writing. But in a broader feminist register, Larsen also underlines the less overtly gendered oppositions that inform the relationships between the productio n of space and place and the expectations and enactments of modern subjectivity. Because this list of modern oppositions prescribes both gendered and classed associations for southern and northern, rural and urban, folk and mass identifications, it is ins tructive to read Larsen and Quicksand for Hurston and Wright, the movement South to North offers Larsen a certa in kind of double vision in which she might first deny southern culture and its superstructural
75 limitations and then return with a critical distance that allows her to find something usable in southern black culture. For both Hurston and Wright, as Willia m J. Maxwell has argued, the combined process of migration and double vision allow them to narrate us diatribe against working woman who is more firmly rooted in the southern soil whi le more attracted 10 However, neither Hurston nor Wright grapple in sustained ways with the plight of these s outhern home working sustainability, or as they produce a vernacular (often gender inflected) culture in opposition to national standardization. usan Willis has argued in relation to a larger conceptualizing history as either a specific mode or as process, when it is 8). What b writing, then, is not only that each place represents a particular mode of local living or a national model for the shift toward industrial capitalism; what also becomes important is that each place is narrated as having its ow n regional culture and that the narration of 10 For a more detailed discussion of the feud between Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, see hetics and/as Ideology in African Aesthetics and Ideology
76 read as a totalized national whole and as a relation of regions. And Larsen, writing her novel from the perspective of a blac k woman in spaces that range from the family home, a New York bound train, a southern black college, a European vacation, and a Baptist church revival, makes feminine (if not feminist) concerns in all of these places visible. In terms of the multiple terr ains that Helga journeys, Larsen makes domestic spaces as politically relevant as regional, national, and foreign policy in the production of American culture. In Quicksand of American li fe, mapping the way in which the coordination of these regions color economic, political, and social modes; and she offers another critical project in which a comparative framework of regions offers a different approach to transforming American culture. N prope rty relationships (Willis 36 7). Thus, in addition to narrating the shortcomings of the predominantly black middle class project of racial uplift, Larsen narrates an alternative reform project that thinks about local needs in relation to a more global pol itics. In the South Naxos and Alabama race progress means questioning the ways in which religion becomes a kind of white capitalist ideology or stressing the ways in which an incomplete modernization of rural production compounds poverty; in industrial Ch icago, race progress means interrogating employment rates as black labor moves north and identifying the ways in which the infrastructure can accommodate this
77 shifting population; and in Denmark, race progress means problematizing the ways in which America n racism is tied to imperialist, colonial histories and underlining the ways in which global capitalism is complicit with a dominant Americanization. There is, of course, a limit to this cultural project. Larsen pushes to the limits the political efficacy of this narrative strategy in her historical moment to imagine the possibility of a coordinated local, social, cultural, and political engagement for her representation in each of these places is tied to a project of regional modernism, travels, then, at the same time as we can trace the beginnings of what might become a cross cultural project, What becomes clear is both that it is impossible for Helga to escape history to find a sense of individual or race identity not authorized by the nation and that the uneven development result ing from national institutions and ideologies makes impossible the status quo or worse, even to form. After moving between Naxos, Chicago, Harlem, and Copenhagen, Helga r ealizes that her attempt to fuse a black cultural identity or to find a place that would accommodate her double consciousness is division of her life into two parts in two l ands, into the physical freedom in Europe and
78 escape; something demanding a courage grea could not leave because the need for racial kinship drew her back (97 98). Indeed, the return to the States. Not only does she fee l ressentiment toward the marriage of Harlem friends Anne Grey and Robert Anderson, but she also projects a degree of hostility toward her Danish suitor Axel Olsen, rationalizing that it was his marriage proposal that ruined Copenhagen and freedom for her. But although she may inwardly be considering marriage, Helga at least outwardly maintains a critical distance from domesticity and most importantly, motherhood. For example, Helga engages in an argument with her ex fiance James Vayle on the reproductive responsibility of African Americans. Helga argues from a material and have t o endure. Vayle, however, counters with a class ensure race progress (104). It is only after a misinterpreted kiss with Robert Ander son that Helga realizes escape from the middle class pretension of the black bourgeoisie crisis re centers on the strictures of middle class sexuality. We can see what C arby
79 refusal of reproduction ( Reconstructing 174). Ironically, Helga envisions her escape from Harlem and its hypocritical articulations of race problems and morality as residing in precisely the domestic life that she has been arguing against over the course of the novel. Marriage to Reverend Mr. Pleasant Green, moving to rural Alabama, and making 118). toward domesticity. However, I do want to emphasize that Helga imagines the building of her southern home as cultural work: not only will she improve her own physical, psychological, and spiritual well being, but she will also be able to address the pove rty of her new rural environs. Her regional turn seems, on first glance, to circle around a kind of organic architecture that pairs family life with a new kind of democratic possibility for daily living. On second glance, the problem is one of praxis. H directed toward middle scrubbed ugliness of her own surroun dings to soft inoffensive beauty, and to help the tactfully point out that sunbonnets, no matter how gay, and aprons were not proper have a garden, and chickens, and a pig; to have a husband
80 class sensibilities (121). More broadly stated, however, Larsen marks the limits of uplift if, in theory or in practice, it sen It is not until Helga becomes a mother that she becomes aware of the reality of southern living (124). What had been so economically liberating and spiritually sat isfying for Helga as a middle class woman playing house becomes a real and often oppressive experience of domestic labor. With three uplifting of other harassed and teeming women, or for the instruction of their neglected final move South, Larsen makes clear the social and political limits on black female subjectivity in America Helga represents the shift of black female sexuality from sexual desire to the biological capacity to reproduce: motherhood becomes less an her marginality: she not o nly makes visible the historical forces of social, political, and economic relations on black womanhood which, of course, were already accomplished via speech acts but she also literally comes to embody those same historical forces. What Larsen underlines is that there are social, political, historical material, and biological representativeness, Larsen demonstrates that the utopic potentialities of the domestic space to transform daily racial, and national belonging and the regional framework for social reform that the
81 novel maps can be read as failed projects, we can also read Quicksand as imagining an alternative world in which domestic culture as home, family, community, region might upset hegemonic national and global systems. 11 journey and Lars an ideal form of social reform and modernist culture. Reading Larsen with Cather, we can see how, in the period between the world wars, these women mark the beginning of the project o f regional modernism to make sense of the shift toward global Americanism to the exclusion of localisms. Problematizing the ways in which American history had predominantly become a narrative of modern progress, both Cather and Larsen spatialize history s o that local color and organic cultures. Their regional modernism backwards and forwards, real and imaginary, as theory and praxis resituates the American vernacular in dialectic al tension with an international cosmopolitanism, ultimately rewriting the domestic as regional and national and rep s addition to arguing for a connection between the dominant nativism that informs nism, the movement from Cather and Larsen to Stein underlines a indeed, a dialectic of regional 11 Both Susan Willis and Susan Hegeman have influenced my reading of the utopic possibilities of failure Spec ifying: Black Women Writing the American Experience Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture.
82 modernism. In the next chapter, I will trace the development of a regional politics in sm, where questions of regional autonomy, cultural nationalism, and foreign policy turn on questions of domesticity. In terms of a theorization of regional regional modernism functions as a vanishing mediator, in which a return to regionalism is an attempt to resist the closure of modernism via the forces of fascist governments, w orld wars, and global capitalism.
83 CHAPTER 3 THE MAPPING OF AMERI CA: GERTRUDE STEIN, GEOGRAPHICAL HISTORI ES AND AESTHETIC GEOPOLITIC S The United States, instead of having the feeling of beginning at one end and ending at another, had the conception of a ssembling the whole thing out of its parts, the whole thing which made the Twentieth Century productive. The Twentieth Century conceived an automobile as a whole, so to speak, and then created it, built it out of parts. There was an end of the nineteenth century and realism was the last thing the nineteenth century did completely. Anybody can understand that there is no point in being realistic about here and now, no use at all not any, and so it is not th e nineteenth but the twentieth century, there is no realism now, life is not real it is not earnest, it is strange which is an entirely different matter. Gertrude Stein, Wars I Have Seen (1945) The pairing of these two epigraphs offers us a glimpse of Ger obsession with historicizing an exceptionalist American modernity, particularly the way in which modernism turns on connections between narration and nationalism, periodization and progress, mechanics and grammar. But the pairing of these tw o epigraphs also offers us, especially given their contextual frame of world war, a degree of hesitancy (and indeed conservatism) in her arguments for modernist literature. In terms of her literary theory, between 1928 and 1945, the modernity of the twent ieth century (its automobiles and assembly lines, its experimental writing and abstraction, its cosmopolitanism and Americanism) is increasingly compared to that of the nineteenth century (its daily living and inner cohesion, its nationalism and imperialis m, and its realism and romanticism). Indeed, although Stein seemingly argues against realism for the twentieth century in the latter epigraph, Wars I Have Seen is very much concerned with everyday life during French Occupation. That is to say, tention to the wartime ( food shortages, political prisoners, and cultural persecutions ) is itself a modernist attention to the impossibility of comprehending the total effects of war
84 (51) In other words, her focus on daily living is not a symptom of realism but a modernist attempt to manage wartime disruption s of all categories of social life. d continuing in telling about it. I had the creation of reality, and then I became interested in how you could tell this thing in a way that anybody could understa nd and at the same time keep 505). We redefinition of realism: at the same time that she refuses the nineteenth century mode of important achievement of modern writing (502). This reco nsideration of realism as and suggests that what marks difference in compositions and generations alike is habit 518 520). Of course, according to Stein, what makes a composition consciously contemporary and, likewise what makes its public contemporary, is war (521). In this context, habits can serve two functions: first, as a conservative defense against the traum a of war or the refusal of
85 political resistance; or second, as an invective to actively politicize daily living. 1 The texts engage in an antithetical project: one that marks a definitive shift in her thinking about modernism while at the very same time grounding its origins in her older theorizations? century global Americanism, which is to say, her li terary modernism becomes an aesthetic intervention Four in America (1933), Lectures in America (1935), The Geographical History of America (1936), and Autobiography (1937), Stein begins to descri be language in terms of what Fredric The Modernist Papers 345). For Lectures in America mark the transition from nineteenth century European imperialism to twentieth century American exceptionalism, where in a fundamentally modernist gesture, revolutions in language and composition attempts to solve crises of time and space, form and cont ent, interiority and exteriority in a situation in which the quite distinct possibilities of American language become for Stein the very epitome of al theory necessarily relates narration and its attendant questions of temporality to geography and its nationalist implications. 1 Omri Moses presciently descr the deadening of feeling and mindless, servile reproduction of behavioral resp onse geared to the
86 In the larger narrative of twentieth Americanism is a timely map of the American Centur y in total: as prewar hopefulness, as postwar achievement, and as a late modernist revisionary project. But what local and global issues. In the continuous reworking o f her theory of Americanism, the global, the particular and the general, the regional and the international. This is the ch is itself a metonymy for regional realism as intervening in narration, politics, and culture. that, paired with my earlier periodization of nineteenth and twentieth century writing, The Autobiograph y of Alice B. Toklas was on best seller lists, Four Saints in Three Acts played Broadway for upwards of seven weeks, and Stein graced the cover Time but also the mainstreaming of modernism. In part, as Karen Leick has pointed out, this thirties mainstream ing of writers Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and T. S. Eliot also enjoyed huge A merican sales this mainstreaming marked the emergence of a new generation of cultural tastemakers, a constellation that Steven Watson has described as museum professionals, high bohemian society, and commercial producers (7). Indeed, in the
87 1930s not only does modernism become mainstream but also the infrastructure is established that will make New York City the cultural center of modernism Given this and content. Thu Four in America a more loc f ro strategically responding to the development of American late modernism. The globalization and Americanization of modernism maps a potential end to the project of eventual global power, but it also marks the economic transiti on from European colonialism to American imperialism and the cultural displacement of European modernism by its American project because she simultaneously argues for two contradictory historic al narratives: the idealized beginning of a specifically twentieth century American modernity and the simultaneous failure of modernism effected by the historical developments of global capitalism, modernization, and Americanism. In this context, we can re ad the contradictory impulses of postwar celebration and disillusionment in Wars I Have Seen Stein asserts that World War II has not only states have regional difference
88 After all every one is as their land is, as the climate is, as the mountains and the rivers or their oceans are as the wind and rain and snow and ice and heat and moisture is, they just are and that makes them hav e their way to eat their way to drink their way act their way to think and their way to be subtle, and even if the lines of demarcation are only made with a ruler after all what is inside those right angles is different from those on the outside of those r ight angles, any American knows that. (250) In this literal meditation on mapping, we can see hints of the kinds of cultural nationalism that was popular in the thirties (isolationism, subnationalism, regionalism, exceptionalism, etc.) emerging as a cautio nary note toward American postwar policy. indeed, she celebrates both American war interventions and the cultural fluency of its G.I.s Stein instead offers a cautionary note against the elimination of national difference. Thus, her modernism by invoking a kind of critical regionalism in response to the institutionalization of late capitalism. Here, a literal rendering of space is key. Regionalism becomes important not only for its nationalist implications for example, in periodizing the American Century as bound up with the Great Depression, or in describing differences in regional identity as a mark of both American creativity and citizenship. It is also important for the way in which a regional lens can focalize a kind of relief map of the American landscape. On the one hand, this strategy enables Stein to remap nationalism on a cultural fr 2 But on the other hand, and perhaps more realistically, 2 provided an invaluable model for feminist topography as a mode of spatial analysis.
89 local cultures, regional habit, an d daily living that she is writing about might offer oppositional cultural politics to homogenous Americanization. Modernist Geography: The Critical Topography of Twentieth Century America ing shape to what was initially her explicitly modernist history of America, a project that for my purposes falls between the writing of Four in America and Paris, France 1932 to 1940. narrative theory, and it will also provide a groundwork for the ways in which modernist the rise of global capitalism, and the hegemony of Americanizati on, is mediated in her 1940s texts by a more explicit focus on geographical politics. That is to say, whereas in the thirties she considered narration as a process whereby language is structured in a dialectic of part to whole, with its ultimate end the d evelopment of the American twentieth century, in the forties this American grammar becomes a kind of global regionalism. Reconsidering the way in which Stein broaches identity and place in this period, especially with regard to what she might consider the global implications of an expanding modernized and industrialized cultural geography, allows us to see the way in which her work moves from geographical histories of American exceptionalism, as in the case of Four in America to comparative frameworks of regionalized nations, as in the case of Paris, France (1940). The combination of both these strategies offers a critical topography of the American cultural landscape. Four in America is simultaneously one of cultural nationalism and in ternationalism. If the majority of her writing in the thirties argues for America Four
90 in America n Century and the transatlantic movement of global American culture. This mapping is important for several reasons. For one, in this geographical history of the twenti eth century and American modernity, Stein marks a nuanced distinction between America as the place in which twentieth century modern civilization begins and Americanism as the space in which this thinking circulates. For another, this spatial fluidity dis mantles typically nineteenth century notions of nationalisms to argue for a global Americanism in which other countries might be modeled on an American example. In this context, America becomes simultaneously a place and space of possibility. To narrate t his radical mapping, however, Stein turns to a quite conventional cultural model : the pioneer. That she should describe the protagonists of Four in America Ulysses S. Grant, Wilbur Wright, Henry James, and George Washington as pioneers is hardly surprisin g, especially since she begins her geographical history with fashions pioneers as cul tural heroes. Stein is certainly participating in the cultural mythology in which, as Susan Hegeman has pointed out, pioneers began to represent not only into a transcon Patterns 71). However, what is surprising is the way Stein rethinks the pioneer in the context of her modernist history so that she might link her American regionalism and global Americanism. Fir that is typically
91 the cultural antagonist of the pioneers, instead folding a secularized American religion a national spiritualism, if you will into the pioneer archetype. Stein certainly seems to be drawing on the development of the evangelist movement at the turn of the century. 3 Not only does she define this new r Stein also proclaims that even though this camp the U nited States of America meetings are profoundly democratic in thought and practice. Contrary to movements within twentieth century evangelicalism that reject a liberal theology and argue for separation from the world, which has broad testify to an American democratic ideal as a means for global conversion. The secon d way that Stein rethinks the pioneer is directly related to the pioneers as distinctly American, she does not confine their cultural work within the begins to think of pioneers as transnational explorers: the duty of an explorer is to (252). But with Four in America the work of pioneer moves beyond projects of cultural relativism; in the context of a spatial America n Century, the work of the pioneer is to settle new regions and preach Americanism. The pioneer logic follows that beca 3 For a mor e detailed discussion of the evangelist movement and its intersection with American Puritan Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture ; Walter Culture as History: The Transformation of American Socie ty in the Twentieth Century ; and Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Unbelief in America
92 used the archetypes of pioneers and puritans to both differentiate American history from Europ century, thus making moot a gesture of distinguishing among national culture, and that p ioneers have themselves become cultural emissaries. 4 She instead uses the pioneer to destabilize concepts like culture, civilization, progress, and nationalism. In fashioning her protagonists as simultaneously pioneers and puritans, Stein not only rework s the narrative of national types but also clears a space for a distinctly modernist American intervention in global affairs. Pioneers, faithfully subscribing to American religion, rethink citizenship so that to a localized sense of civic or national duty is added a global consciousness. The double function of the pioneer as expatriate explorer and religious leader is significant as it is a model for the double functions of each of the protagonists. Each of dentity in the text, an identity that writes an alternative (and yet complementary) history of the United States: Ulysses S. Grant is a general and a religious leader or saint; Wilbur Wright is an inventor and a painter; Henry James is a novelist and a gen eral; George Washington is a general and a novelist. On the most fundamental level, Stein makes these men simultaneously social and political pioneers whose work is specifically engaged in proffering an American this means that the historical figure of General Grant and his Civil War victory is re imagined as leading an American religious 4 Van Wyck Brooks: The Early Ye ars.
93 movement. In this translation, democracy is moved from explicitly martial and political realms to the cultural front. Because the historical Grant of the nineteenth century promoted democracy via war, the imagined Grant of the twentieth century can preach Americanism to maintain that hard fought peace. In this modernist history, then, Stein offers a higher priority to thinking, saying, or hearing narration than to action. For Stein, American religion turns on discursive education rather than active conversion. airplane is re imagined as a modern pai nter innovating perspective. His contribution to France appreciates the historical Wright because of the invention of the airplane, they fail to read him as part of a larger process of Americanism. However, by reimagining Wright as a painter whose nting modernity literally, the inv ention of the plane; imaginatively, the perspective of American religion; and culturally, the American global turn. Expatriate novelist James is re traits negotiate American religion and European war, modern perspectivism and aesthetic tradition, ultimately reading him as a cultural link between nineteenth century nationalism and a twentieth century global Americanism. More to the point, in her chara cterization of James as general, in contradistinction to Washington whom Stein re imagines as a novelist, Stein divorces the role of general from nationalism, militarism, or government. Instead, James is a general whose power is tied to his writing : havin
94 portrait of Washington that not only re so spatializes him as the country itself. She variously writes that is, A merica and its citizens spacelessness of Americanism, if not America itself (169). In her modernist history, then, Washington becomes a c ultural link Four in America becomes: democratic politics is a cultural link (Washington), asserted by a victorious war in defense of these politics (Grant), that then h as technological (Wright) and aesthetic (James) extensions; or, drafting democracy (Washington) becomes national religion (Grant) that changes world perspectives (Wright) and marshals global support (James). In re identifying these men Stein likewise re i dentifies America. Following the composition of Four in America (the manuscript was not published until 1947) Stein returned to America in 19 3 4 after twenty years to promote The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas spatial history of modernism becomes more pronounced: geography begins to explicitly signify both a physical location and a spatial arrangement of words. 5 In Autobiography a memoir in part recounting her American travels, she broadly states t he 5 instructive on Autobiography book tour.
95 significance of geography in terms of place and language. From the vantage of an airplane, Stein meditates on the model of regional difference for literary composition: I have always wanted to write about how one state differs from another. It is so strange that the lines are ruled lines on paper, I never can stop having pleasure in the way the ruled lines separate one state from another. Ohio from Indiana Kansas from Nebraska Tennessee from Alabama, it always gives me a shock of pleasure the America n map and its straight lines and compare it to any other with the way they go all over nothing neat and clean like the maps of America. (198) She continues this line of thought by suggesting that this particularly American concept of place beginning with a literal consideration of regionalism and extending to literary stylization I had links regionalism to cubism is provocative. Specifically, she makes a direct connection garde aesthetics and her increasingly regio nal literary politics. If in cubism objects are abstracted so that an artist might represent a subject from multiple viewpoints, the multitude of positions giving the object a larger contextual meaning, Stein is doing the same thing with her aerial mappin g. The representation of difference implicit in regionalism be it marking state lines on a map, moves lection marks the parameters of what will become her regional modernism. To her modernist history in which geography is a starting point that differentiates the American Twentieth Century, which a comparative framework of multiple locations speaks to more global cultural movements. Thus,
96 physically and aesthetically as parts to whole: Indiana to the Midwest to America and America to the world. It is in this spatial register that Paris, France operates. To her geographical history of American culture, Stein compares French civilization. This regional modernism turns on a comparative reading of national identit y, cultural habits, daily living, and artistic history. Nationalism becomes expressly linked to international politics. Stein begins the text where she left off in Four in America America is the first country to have moved into the twentieth century and the only country to have completely modernized. At the beginning of the twentieth century, she writes that expatriate adventures (8). But Stein concedes that especially i n the context of World War II a reconsideration of French culture might be prescient: french people really do not believe that anything is important except daily living and the ground that give it to them and defending themselves from the enemy. Governme nt has no importance except insofar as it does that. (9) is certainly reactionary (8). If the twentieth century turns on rationality, scientific methods, social progress, and modern art, all of which constitute The Geographical History of America a reversion move away from the twentieth century and the human mind because of its failure to secure peace or a resignation to an anachronistic way of life because war makes twentieth century living insupportable.
97 However, there is a deeper logic to her cultural turn. In The Geog raphical History of America with propaganda with history with individualism and with communism but it has nothing to the quotidia n of daily living is a condition of declaration of war. One the one hand, family life, fashion, cuisine, and pets become pragmatic responses to the shock of world war. As Liesl Olson has argued, although war, habit and daily living proved important infl uences on the body of creates, dissolving the consequences of the world in the space of the home, and paradoxically to work as a way in which war itself can be represen ted, as the to habit (a reconsideration of French culture, a starting over in the nineteenth century, a civilizing of modern culture) is a beginning again of the pro cesses of modernization and Americanism. Stein makes clear the processional nature of this rhetorical shift. events has to be written over, but the writing that has to do with writing does not have to be written again, again Geographical History 108). And Paris, France narrates this beginning again. If war marks the end of a series and indeed, Stein makes this explicit point, suggesting that for the Americans Civil War and World War I made the nineteenth the French begin the twentieth ealised the twentieth
98 and likewise a return to the regional is to create The Late Modernist Turn, Or, Stein Fait Un Four Stein makes this regional modernism her personal politics. The sustainabili ty and safety of the country plenty of food, and liquid cash become s a haven for what was by 1940 a mobilized France ( Paris, France 79). The Nazi invasion of France, the French armistice replacing th e Third Republic with the Vichy Regime, and persistent American isolationism, not to mention a remnant of cultural autonomy located in the French countryside, influenced this move. For all of these reasons, but also because Stein and Alice B. Toklas were Jewish American lesbians in an increasingly xenophobic France, the couple hunkered down at their country house in Bilignin. But despite trying to remain inconspicuous, largely because of her friendship with French academic Bernard Fa, Stein was enlisted to draft introductory remarks for a translated collection of speeches by Ptain. 6 Working cure American aid for his Occupied France. 7 Stein found herself in a predicament. On the her American audience; but on the other, she recognized that through her collab oration 6 on with the Vichy government and his anti Semitism is well known, his 7 This idea is implicit in one reading of the historical Ptain. According to Nicholas Atkin, the general had always supported and even planned his military tactics and movements around the hope of an American collaboration. Indeed, it might be p lausible to suggest that, paired with his nineteenth century warfare, his holding out for American troop support led to German Occupation (151 152).
99 collaborationist and increasingly authoritarian politics. By 1942, Stein had found some sort of resolution rationalized or indoctrinated n to to Bennett Cerf at Random House. Stein was right, however, to anticipate that her American audience would read her as subscribing to fascist ideology : even Cerf Her audience was right to recoil at her act of collaboration. However, a literal realize indeed to was the way in which by writing about (or for) Ptain Stein was really writing about (and for) America. 8 What Stein does with this project is less to subscribe to an ideology of fascism than to conceptualize the ways in which her social, political, and historical horizons manifest themselves on the level of form. To be clear, the way in which her reading of Ptain acts as a case study, testing the limits of her theorizing of American regionalism as American religion in the period between Four in America and Paris, France Since the archival discovery of the Ptain project by Wanda Van Deusen in the 1990s, much scholarship has been written addressing ntial collaboration. Van Deusen suggests that this work marks Stein as a willing collaborator with the Vichy government and as a foreigner who was ideologically 8 Lesins
100 committed to Ptain and his politics; John Whittier with th Mrs. Reynolds ; and Barbara Will prese rvation. My project is something different. It is not my intention to argue away resignation to ionary geography that exists alongside ordinary geography but that it is inseparable from and even perhaps the same thing as the visionary history she practices in Four in America ink local French politics with her more global Americanism (Moon 1a). However, that is not to say that this practice of regionalism is not nave or perverse; it is certainly both. In an effort to push her global Americanism, Stein either ignores or prove s unaware of the immediate political implications of her project. She implicitly promotes a regionalism that defaults to fascism, particularly with its rhetoric of organic communities, national religion, and paterfamilias. Thus, in her push toward a total ized American history, Stein walks a fine line in her privileging of the global reach of history Americanism over its potential local, nationalist interventions fascism. Reading the text in terms of its representation and in terms of its set of figures Geo rge Washington and Ptain is to see the way in which she performatively maps a Four in America Her method, repeating Washingt on as a pioneer for France, and specifically Ptain, creates a line between
101 Twentieth Century America and Nineteenth Century Europe on the cusp of modernizing. In this translation project, Stein transcodes her idea of twentieth century Americanization to her real experience of 1940s French nationalism. Bridging their temporal and spatial differences, especially relating to literature, culture, and politics, general as Ame on the level of content and form of the ascendancy of American culture in a global context. Following Warren movement, the ongoing ideology than fleshing out a utopian vision of Americanism (9). That is to say, the myth of Ptain is less important than the way in which history deploys this myth content. As results of thes French modernization to a larger consideration of her American modernism. My her geographi the problems implicit in American style modernization and promote her theory of global Americanism nar rative a literal translation
102 inter her fellow Americans was both the belief that they should be invested in European political or cultural affairs and the expectation that direct involvement would be mutual ly worthwhile or beneficial century American religion she had been theorizing in Four in America to be put into practice in France. With military action would come the end of geographic cultural isolation. Therefore, when she parallels Ptain and Washington, she points to the and filling it with what, in The Geographical History of America, she calls an American wartime situation, she rewrites American history so that its parti cular nationalist rhetoric might have a sense of global responsibility. For example, Stein provocatively suggests in international affairs: We in the United States until just now have been [spoiled] children. Since the civil war until to day, when the action of Japan has made us realize the misery the grief and the terror of war, all this time because we have tender hearts we have always felt for others and helped t hem all we [could] but we did not understand defeat enough to sympathize with the French people and with their Marechal Petain [sic] (93) Appealing to what is now a more global American citizenry, she suggest that there is potential for America to cataly ze the events of Pearl Harbor as more manifest destiny than catastrophe. Extending the metaphor further, Stein impels her audience to
103 recognize the need for their important but delayed political and martial intervention, and she invites her audience to re nationalism to world power. seeds of twentieth century modernity taking root in eighteenth century America, particularly under the leadership of Washington, Stein suggests that Ptain is similarly leading France into the twentieth century. The cultural memory of Washington becomes a model for the cultural redemption of Ptain. This perverse chronology and peculiar moderni ty is itself an example of her narrative shift from time dominated to space oriented history. Common to the majority of her work from the middle thirties forward is the idea that changes in periods are the result of social, political, technological and cu ltural revolutions and their attendant effects on the spaces of daily living. For Stein, periods are not bound to chronology or teleological process. What the line between Washington and Ptain marks is a geographical history in which the American Centur y very literally begins to have political and cultural capital. It is in this comparison that her theoretical Americanism becomes (or at the very least begins) a practice of global Americanization. And to a certain extent, her intention in large part bec omes reminding her American public of their responsibility for this Americanism/ Americanization. In this context, Stein does not picture Ptain as a general renowned for his Ins tead, she reads the ideological differences and national politics framed in these comparative portraits as multiply figured in the multiple horizons of her text. On the one hand, Stein invokes the myth of Washington to reintroduce Ptain as more a defende r
104 of democracy than an authoritarian or worse, fascist dictator. In this formulation, each of the military leaders serves at once as defender and father of his national the last war we waited day after day and day after day and Verdun did not fall, that was n, whose political ascent was a direct product of his prowess on the battlefield and the spirit of resistance that his memory evoked. And in the same way that Americans reme mber memory to Ptain in order to similarly write him as a war hero whose World War I patriotism could unite the fragmented Third Republic. On the other hand, at the same resemblance to Washington, she also uses the American general as a means to critique his authoritarian practices. Deploying the two American readings of Washington as the Classical benevolent father and reluctant dictator. That is to say, her bifocal history rewrites Ptain to show a larger connection between pat ernalism, nationalism, and fascism. Neither overtly subscribing to nor condemning any of these discourses, Stein rather of reading and writing history but also what she reads as a more central problem of political leadership in the current historical moment. Indeed in
105 Autobiography Stein had already leveled a critique on political leaders democratic, fascist, and communist alike for their inability to resol ve political differences and, There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing. Everybody nowadays is a father, there is father Mussolini and father Hitler and father Roosevelt and father Stalin and father Lewis and father Blum and father Franco is just commencing now and there are ever so many the continuous present reduces the multiple fig ures of Ptain, simplifying his politics by complication to plot points, as parts to the history. Indeed, the Ptain portrait also implicates all varieties of big government (or nationalism, fathering, etc.) on their respective regions (or the local, their family units, Americanism on narrative theory and aesthetic geopolitics. What Stein drafts is an impossible vision of history. H er twentieth century toolkit her bifocality, her performativity, and her modernism refuses to read or write reading redeeming Ptain as a national hero or casting him to the ashbin of fascism becomes an impossible task and consequently a moot point. And yet, we must take But if the text refuses a faith in her character, what is the function of its polemical American religion? To answer this question requires that we break the frame of war and religion and
106 as Washington is a narrat Four in America filled with all a redeeming Ptain than with announcing her Americanist history. But because Ptain is himself not a twentieth century figure he does not have a twentieth century perspective this A historical moment. That is to say, in the same way that Washington in Four in America is the pioneer who breaks with England and imagines and American modernity, Ptain pace Stein initiat es a French progress towards the twentieth century and thus his Americanism is only a space clearing gesture. For Americanism to take hold in France not to say to have any power requires not just pro American sentiment on the part of French politicians bu t a full American undertaking of World War II. Where American religion should be oriented, then, is t oward t he real extension of a global metonymic for the relationshi p between American and Europe in the Second World War more generally. Thus, the success and the failure that Ptain represents is the cultural opening of twentieth century Americanism. At this point, we should pause to consider the implications of failure modernist mapping. By all accounts, this project is a failure. Ptain does not become a redeemable figure, not to say a cultural hero or American pioneer. In the most banal ilure because it was
107 thirties and late forties works, as well as negotiating the nuances of her work on narrative, this failure is rewritten as a space of potential. In Le ctures in America she in Four in America she follows up this national prescription by qualifying what failure ed an excuse. It is an end because the nature of the project in theory and practice marks the beginning of French Americanization. her fellow Americans, Stein at the very least forces her public to make cultural connections. That is to say, her portrait of Ptain as an American maps an imaginary geographical history that moves across the Atlantic, across history, and across political and ideological differences. Negotiating oppositions between nation and world, nationalism and globalization, tradition and innovation, culture and capital, Stein demonstrates that what makes her compara tive portrait at once a success and a failure rethink these kinds of modern contradictions that arise in the form of national traditions and international responses ; and it is an American intervention that might translate such and later this thinking as policy is most dramatically visible in Am sense, the Ptain project is a performative restatement of this failure/success paradox:
108 the failure to pro entirely differ ent failure/success paradox of Four in America Besides complicating a thirties Four in America puts into focus the developing politics of late modernism: an argument f or the historical development of the American Century becomes an example of its institutionalization. To repeat Ptain as Washington is to insist on the expanse of American civilization. However, as the next section will demonstrate, to repeat Ptain as Pioneer Returns: Americanization, Middle Class Domesticity, and Regional Habit the occasion of V Day, she essay that under lines that the war is only half over. In part, Stein might be referring to the still unsecured Allied victory in the Pacific Theater. It is more likely, however, that Stein is referr ing to the projects of recovery and normalization that necessarily follow war. Not only does American postwar foreign policy make the American Century a historical fact, but also this nascent globalization marks the beginning of the twentieth century for continuation of her project of cultural nationalism an Americanism that, to paraphrase The Making of Ameri cans privileges ordinary middle class habits of daily living is in (142). With this new world order beginning in America and threatening to spread
109 globally, particu drink Besides offering an invective against the combined boom of what she considers the business, bli nd faith in mechanization, and the international policies that eliminate a pioneering spirit so that daily life might again be cultivated in the twentieth century. If the post war world has returned to a pre Civil War state of mind, beginning again with a rgues for a pragmatic cultural transformation by way of a return to regionalism and t o The question of w hat these post war pioneers do becomes a prescient one. these soldiers giving preferential treatment to enemy nations that flatter them rather than privileging wartime allies, she acknowledges the potential for these G.I.s to take up her post war project. 9 On a practical level, this pioneering means helping to rebuild the 9 some G.I.s regarding their preference for Germans over all other Europeans. She dismisses their preference nd personally you have not been awfully ready to meet them ich their preferential treatment refuses a kind of international relativism, important to the project of post War reconstruction:
110 maintains a degr Wars 221 222). In explicitly one of regional redevelopment (a literal rebuilding of homes based on local habit) and implicitly one of Americanist ideology (a belief in global modernity as tied to home, domesticity, and nationalism). In either formulation, the habits and homes become antido tes to post war alienation or modernist rootlessness. But while her defense of small town French life is a continuation of her wartime modernist histories. And this difference turns, on a theoretical level, on her privileging of American G.I.s and twentieth regionalism a turn to the local or regional in response to the spacelessness of the American Century provides a late modernist praxis to her original modernist theory. Recognizing that her original project of modernist mapping failed a global modernism proved inseparable from complete global modernization thus pushing the project of modernism to its end Stein at tempts to reopen her project and to reorganize it in new terms. This new cultural strategy reads her modernist American history in a way that is more materialist and more middle class. Whereas her earlier modernist histories made men of genius or fame he r cultural heroes (read, for example, her four Americans) her late modernist histories make middling soldiers her new idealized pioneers. Given this live without frien ds, I want you all to get to know other countries so that you can be friend s make a little
111 narrative shift, Stein certainly does not expect the same kind of modernist revolution that she theorized and clearly idealized in her middle thirties texts. Indeed, Stein makes her pioneers expressly political. In Wars I Have Seen the American army landing in France begins to conservative politics are writ large: she argues for a return to the gold standard; military retribution for Axis persecution; and the arrival of goods to end wartime hunger. Currency reform, military occupation, and food rations become American intervent ions toward the reconstitution of European daily living. But they also mark the limits of what Stein might consider acceptable governmental action. demands of industry, as she explicitly writes in Wars I Have Seen, but it is also a republican opposition both to governmental centralized banking and the New Deal always been the shorthand for othe however, is the relation of her political conservatism to her theory of Americanism. In this postwar moment, in the figuration of the pioneer, habit and republicanism intersect to underline the importance of individualism and personal need over centralized government and its collectivist ideology.
112 The advantage of making her pioneers middle class soldiers is that it intersects with the broadening of the middle class and the significant rise in the American standard of living, effects hastened largely as a result of the global wartime economy. In a sense, f social, economic, and political power to facilitate her regional modernism. Not only would the pioneers not necessarily have direct ties to the national governments, social policymakers, or financial interests that, in ccess of the hard working, responsible middle class would in fact legitimate both her representation of postwar pioneering. The relationship between the G.I. victory and the potential success of her middle class pioneering is hardly unintentional. But mo re important still is that the recent emergence of the middle class as world cultural power would allow for a more malleable audience. Although the middle class soldiers might be guilty of too much individual bravado and a symptomatic culture ignorance St ( Brewsie re also the only Americans abroad whose mobility home. In Brewsie and Willie (1946), her middle class pioneers not only talk incessantly about their American homes questi but also relate their home life to their regional deployments Contrasting the kinds of American conversation taking place in Europe will flesh out this distinction
113 Wars 156). Although her description of the radio broadcasts are benign enough America, and the n with modesty and good neighborliness, one of the United Nations, it the official talking voices are disembodied and merely transmitting ( Wars G.I. Joes, themselves, they had no doubts or uncertainties and they had not to make any Wars 251). Whereas the doughboys demonstrated a kind of provincialism, more asking questions than chatting, this new army does not ask some y ou can get along with and ot her Wars 252). Important to Stein is the way these American boys map the postwar America in the twentieth century: they only have a national consciousness and develop an inter national relativism T he G.I.s also can talk about the relationship of domestic life in both of these contexts. Pioneering in the late 1940s geographically specific. Although the so you got to break down what has about very literally returning home, about challenging systems that provoke war, about reconstructing Europe, about promoting democracy, and about avoiding the atomic
114 bomb. Put bluntly, pioneering become happily, seriously, habitually, and democratically of the camp meeting from Four in America in this postwar moment, the woods do have something to do with it. By the time she drafts her World War II texts, Stein invokes the notion of regionalism as a mediator betwee n individual and nation, be it by n aming the G.I.s by the state they were born in, critiquing United States foreign policy for its problematic race and class domest ic policies, or periodizing the Great Depression as the moment that modernized American consciousness. But I would argue that Stein does even more with her regionalism: namely, mapping regionalism as global. If regionalism also aims to create, as Richard Wars I Have Seen and continu ing to Brewsie and Willie and Mrs. Reynolds (1952) (105). Her focus on habit, both as it relates to the time of war and to domestic spaces, paired with her privileging of pioneering as the ideal postwar policy underlines the importance of place in the late modernist moment. This revised project not only challenges the primacy of the United States in late modernism by offering alternative spaces as important as the nation (like rebuilding countries, the region, the town, and the home), but it also marks a d theory, the problem of the twentieth century was time in relation to the spatial developments of the American Century, in the late forties it becomes explicitly one of
115 project in his introduction to the 1933 French edition of The Making of Americans : in Because of this regional impulse, Stein can make explicit the connections between geography and identity that she begins in The Geographical History of America At the end of Wars I Have Seen she punct uates her geographical politics, dy is as the sky is low or high. That is what makes a people, makes their kind of looks, their kind of thinking, their subtlety and their stupidity, and t (258). In vernacular language using quotidian examples of daily life, Stein can underline the problems of a massified American modernity and its effects on individual and communal living. And it is this localized, largely middle class narrative that gives democratic tradition. It is wit Brewsie and Willie tho writing, her conservative politics become polemical: it is the American middle class who, in becoming war heroes and pioneers, will stand up to big business and big government
116 becomes b oth a late modernist praxis and a Cold War politics, the very framework the remaining chapters of this dissertation responds to. The individualism of the 1940s pioneers as workers, as citizens, and as consumers as depression, the New Deal, or fascism or any possible deviation from American progress. It becomes the cultural work of her middle people shall not perish from the face of the earth, it won t, somebody else will do it if we Brewsie and Willie becomes simultaneously an ethic of justification and odernism is the hope that her modernist American religion might remake the world and the confidence that the G.I.s domestic life in the cultural logic of modernity. This return to the trope of the pioneer at the official beginning of the twentieth century is appropriate. For as Stein writes in
117 CHAPTER 4 DAWN POWELL, REGIONA L MODERNIS M, AND THE POSTWAR AIR WORL D In her February 13, 1943 diary entry, Dawn Powell proves uncharacteristically [Booth e ] Luce made such evil use of her new Congressional power, I was glad I had slashed her in my last book and realized th at my immediate weapons are most necessary and can help. The lashing of such evil can only be done last book she is referring to is A Time To Be Born (1942), a novel t hat scrutinized, among other topics, the cultural reach of a New York publishing power couple fashioned after Luce and her husband Time Powell attributes to Luce refers to the newly tack o n Vice which she infamously decried as sign ificant not only because it ends the speculation (and self contradiction) that Luce 1 It more political commentary. This is perhaps a banal statement to make about most noveli sts living in New for its catalog of contradictions. Living in Greenwich Village from 1918 until her death in 1965, the Ohio native had acquaintances from circles as diverse as leftist modernists to 1 More proof from her Diaries A Time To Be Born for the general idea that it is Clare Luce. I swear it is based on five or six girls, some known personally and some by talk, and often I changed the facts to avoid libel with resulting character a real person evidently and libelously Luce ian. I insist it was a composite (or compost) but then I find a memo from 1939
118 more conservative literary critics; a short list of her closest friends would certainly include John Dos Passos, Max Perkins, Edmund Wilson, Malcolm Cowley, and Gore Vidal. And her politics, like her taste in friends, was equally scattershot; she was famously a lifelong Republican, but her political affiliations were in reality more nuanced: McCarthyite, Stevensonian Democrat, anti Vietnam War, [and] antifeminist who thought there should be a (Lingeman 38). It is precisely this complexity and contradiction that places her squarely in the politics of modernism: the ceaseless pursuit of stable subjectivity, the rebellion against established forms and traditionalis m, the tensions between high culture and the vernacular, the promise of pluralism paired with the problem of difference, and the social experiences relating to the conflict between the city and the country. I will argue that more than merely being at the center of these debates, Powell serves a mediating role for modernist literary history. As a midwestern woman writer who satirizes the cotemporaneous development of the ideologies of modernism and the American e us to think beyond local and particular circumstances, or global and systemic forces, instead holding them in dialectic al tension. In the context of her diary entry, she mediates the beginnings of modern identity politics and the wartime development of the antipolitical subtext of modernist aesthetic formalism, which specifically forces us to confront the place of gender, class, and regional identities in the theory and practice of modernism. Here this different narrative of modernism, what I will call vanishing mediator for the transitional space between modernism proper and the late
119 of a globalizing world before we were ful ly historically able to develop a new discourse The Cultural Return 60). 2 historical intervention, however, requires a brief narrative of the political disagreement between Luce and Williams. Reg ional Antinomies and the Postwar Air World Despite being elected predominantly on the basis of her internationalist credentials, in her first floor speech as Connecticut Representative and Committee Member on Military Affairs, Luce criticized the wartime p olicies of the Roosevelt administration and positioned herself squarely in the GOP isolationist camp. In y a call for postwar domestic policy to regulate and invest in American commercial and military aviation as a means of national security. The second, more explicitly partisan agenda, was her ause the American political economy and market capitalism as foundational to foreign policy and ultimately postwar 2 h ere in expanding his work to flesh out the gendered politics of this cultural movement in the period of late 10.
120 the common man will demand and get a better education and a higher s tandard of living. In serving the common man, the business leader will have opportunities for American living than the New Deal economic policies that would regulate both foreign and domestic trade and t he lucrative aviation markets. With this rhetorical move, Luce positioned international involvements in order to become as domestically strong as possible (760). For Luce, the key to preserving American living standards, and promoting American sovereignty of th e skies, was to dismantle the New Deal political infrastructure: domestically, she challenged New Deal ties to labor unions and government backed marine through its internationalization of the ports and promotion of foreign trade to the detriment of American national security and employment (762). Thus, Luce accepted globalization insof ar as it was synonymous with American capitalism, free markets, and
121 air thro Though the rhetoric and the policy of Republican Luce and New Deal Democrat Wallace are d ifferent, their partisan programs, which focus on American trade as a central postwar concern, bear strong resemblances. In the first place, both politicians spoke to the importance of Americanization for postwar liberalism, specifically through which nat ionalist political and economic schemas could influence postwar geopolitical development. There are certainly crucial ideological differences: Luce promoted Americanization as a means to strengthen the American economy abroad, which would in turn consolid ate American interests in the global free market and solve the Cold War problem of communism, whereas Wallace promoted Americanization for its emphasis on democratic theory and practice, in which the United States would secure a significant amount of postw ar power through its cooperationist efforts to rebuild Europe via the model of the American New Deal. Nevertheless, these disagreements provide different valences of a similar political alignment: both Luce and Wallace were centrally concerned with the pl ace of both the United States and American hegemony in the postwar global world. This support for postwar liberalism, framed as it were by isolationism and internationalism, opens to another similarity: the function of global Americanism as a cultural conc ept within a larger discussion of postwar Americanization. However, if their respective political and economic agendas opened up to the universal rights and freedoms afforded by postwar liberalism (while still, of cours e, privileging the U.S.), Luce and W
122 regionalism. Thus, at the same time that they were offering Americanization as a model for postwar liberalism and moral universalism fundamental common mor Luce and Wallace were also using regional culture as a justification for their respective causes (Hegeman, The Cultural Return 62). But here I must make a qualification: in the case of Luce and Wallace region alism and more specifically, regional culture functions as a mediator between nationalism and internationalization, explaining the connection between local examples of domestic programs and their future application for foreign policy. To paraphrase Hegema n, regional culture must serve two purposes: it must explain the relationship between the smaller and larger parts of the political, economic, social, and cultural thinking of the World War II period, and it must also denote difference, in our case among t he various spatial registers of Americanization ( The Cultural Return 113). While in theory Luce and Wallace invoked regionalism as a strategy to explain the local, regional, national, and global benefits of their respective postwar foreign policies, in pra into narratives of American nationalism and postwar internationalism, which is to say Americanization. For Wallace, regional planning projects like the Tennessee Va lley Authority served as a model for the way in which New Deal political, economic, and social programs might provide a similar infrastructure for building postwar democracy. But thirties regionalism was also significant to the Vice President for the ways in which
123 flood to critique New Deal programs and to show how her postwar plans could be nefit the l midwestern development, not to say cultural modernization, in ways that Iowan Wallace proved unable to do Indeed, Luce could kill two birds with one stone: n ot only did she slight her political opposition with the idea that even grammar school boys from the geographical air hub 761). Taken together, both politicians choose regional culture for its us e value. In the process, Luce and Wallace make negligible cultural differences by forcing a comparative contact between regionalism and internationalization. And in theorizing want Regional Modernism and Uneven Modernity It is at this point that Powell returns to my story of the American Century, specifically intervening in the particular uses of regionalism in narratives of modernism and globalization. Whereas regionalism becomes a tautology of Americanization for Luce and Wallace, Powell still finds in regional culture a kind of oppositional politics,
124 cha llenges certain caricatures of regionalism in this wartime, postwar, and Cold War ro of the local color tradition, or a particular kind of gendered nationalism in thirties regionalism; and on the other, a conservative desire to affiliate local and regional culture with national imperatives, or the celebration of singular case studies, isolated f rom larger geopolitical forces, as somehow represe nting a national folk tradition and the Return towards destroying whatever roots we had in the soil, toward eradicating our local and he reasons for this would include that this perverse reading of regionalism situates regional culture as exclusively facilitating the cosmopolitan developments of modernism, but also more tragically that the romantic project of modernism is over since the Lost Generation had returned to the United States. Ironic, and yet highly instructive, is the fact that Esquire time during the French newspapers in New York cafes or bars (77). For Cowley, it seems that Dawn Powell and regionalism served similar metonymic purposes. By way of
125 acknowledged for its rhetorical utility but not its own political significance, with an expressly cultural response to the effects of Americanism, both domestically and always une ven is less a process imposed by one place on another than the uneven notion of capital finding, producing, and reproducing places and people while Powell hersel f does not engage directly in polemical debates, her fiction is deeply invested in the relationship between the political, the social, and the aesthetic; and her regional modernism, because it is fundamentally a mode of cultural criticism, becomes what Fre For Powell, development refers primarily to two related co ncepts: representation (identity, subjectivity, style, and aesthetic form) and the geographical spatial considerations of a specific location (human, physical, cultural, and feminist geographies). Moreover, the conceptual tension between representation an d geography produces a kind of map for regional modernism, in which this spatial culture concept is a particular form of a larger social totality. In terms of the first concept, Powell complicates representation, specifically the prescription of a homogen ous collective identity, the stereotypes associated with particular groups, or prejudices attached to various individual subjectivities. For example, Powell would reject outright se
126 subjectivities would uniformly determine who she was as an individual and indeed as a the project of feminism so much as its typical practice. In 1952, she bem oaned the mama, cookie job, as well as the inability of the predominantly middle class feminist move ment to life, how politely silent they are Diaries 309). This provokes her off color quip that this situation r dissatisfaction with feminism stemmed from the fact that it was already problematically tied to a characterization of modern women writers to which she did not conform. In 1934, having read fiction from Nancy Hale, Louise Bogan, and Kay Boyle, she refle cted: I was impressed with how women now made their art serve their female purpose whereas once it warred with their femininity. Each page is squirming with sensitivity, every line no matter how well disguised the heroine is coyly reveals her exquisite ta ste, her delicate charm, her never at a disadvantage body (which of course she cares nothing about and is What gallantry, what equalness to any situation in the home, the camp, t he yacht, the trenches, the dives what aristocrats these women writers are, whose pen advertises the superiority of their organs. Fit companions and opposites to the he man writers Hemingway, Burnett, Cain imitation he manners whose words tersely proclaim their masculinity, every tight lipped bility to handle any situation. ( Diaries 92 93 ) The public status of modern women writers, read in conjunction with the superficial gender politics popular in bourgeo is feminism, turned on the idea that women must case of Hale, Bogan, or Boyle, whether this overt femininity or dripping sexuality was an
127 intrinsic part of their identity or a strategic maneuver to promote themselves was unimportant to Powell. In either case, these women writers failed to address social issues that inhibit gender equality with their fiction exclusively focusing on feminine ideals of taste, charm, and sexua this decision: having positioned themselves as exceptional women, they remain nevertheless peripheral to their male colleagues. This problem of individual representation opens up to a second problem of aesthetic representation a certain ideology of modernism in which formalism trumps historical or cultural contexts. It should also go without saying that this problem is further exacerbated when individual s groups, or subjects are deprivileged as aest hetically marginal by the cultural elites who dominate modernist publishing and literary criticism. In the period between 1934 and 1952 when Powell lodged her critiques of feminism, the capital of the art world had moved from Paris to New York. There wer e several consequences of this move, one being the already described gender politics of the literary marketplace. This cultural shift contributes to what which succeeded in gendering modernist literary production as inherently masculine (highbrow, avant garde, elite) and massified popular culture as implicitly feminine (middlebrow, representational, domestic). A second consequence, directly related to the tensions between th e literary marketplace and the institutionalization of modernism, capital, groups having strong bases within the metropole intellectuals associated with The Partisan Re view, The Nation, or New Criticism, but also publishing houses,
128 middlebrow magazines, and print media empires proved increasingly dismissive of Therefore, because Powell c on their respective settings, editors like John Farrar tended to compare her to Willa Cather whose representations of midwestern vernacular culture by the 1930s were viewed as antique by the moderni st elites Alternatively, critics like Diana Trilling dismissed her as an embittered modern woman who on the small that so markedly diminished the Diaries 46; And yet, even for her so called Catheresque novels, Powell refused entirely the idea that she was a regional writer ( Diaries sofar as their settings were still in Ohio, but they because she was consciously interested in the modernization and development of the Midwest. 3 new Ohio must be the keynote the dizziness of speed through broad auto hi argued, pointing toward uneven modernity as a theme that would continue in the rest of her novels ( Diaries 54). But for Powell, this development was not one way. Unlike Luce and Wallace, who argued that American modernity was passively received by the rural periphery, Powell argued that modernization and development in the Midwest had a likewise transformative effect on cosmopolitan America. 3 Patterns for America: Moderni sm and the Concept of Culture, 14 27.
129 To explain this point, I will of fer two examples of this dialectical development, both coming from 1940s publication memos. In the first example, in publicity release for A Time to Be Born Powell seemingly marks the foreclosure of regionalism: not only has the Midwest be come popularly imagined as a site of consumerism and mass culture, regional culture itself has become commodified by the publishing industry. So the story goes, protagonist Amanda Keeler would do anything to maintain her literary reputation, public positi with that man and her Ohio friend and rival, a romantic rebuff from a Hemingway like modernist, and a separation from her publisher h weakened, and the latter part of the book deals with her frantic efforts to indulge private Letters 112). Amanda ultimately decides to recreate herself as common fo all the while increasing her readership (and her purchase power) ( Letters 112). In the second example, a Guggenheim Fellows hip proposal Powell makes an explicit connection between regionalism and cultural nationalism, questioning the effects of modernization for both infrastructural development and American hegemony. She specifically wonders if a new conversation must be sta rted between the provincial and the cosmopolitan (and by extension, arguably regionalism and modernism) would be an appropriate cultural strategy as Americans prepare for world war: As a member of a family rooted in Ohio for nearly 150 years my observation in defense of their inherent provincialism. My novels have followed this trail the provincial in the city eager to trade his naivet for a sort of
130 Hollywood culture, the other provincial Americ an determined to keep his roots in a rootless environment, then the provincial returning to his roots with cosmopolitan messages. This pattern seems to me to follow the mass of life of America as well as the individual life. The late insistence of Europe and Asia in impressing another life on this native pattern gives an opportunity to study the pattern in protest. It is better to record the lives of these people now than to wait till the glacier has destroyed them and left only a statistical clue. ( Let ters 112) Drafted while she was writing A Time To Be Born this would become her last Ohio novel, My Hom e is Far Away (1944). Whereas her satire critiques the Midwest for its mass cultural turn, in this fictionalized memoir of her childhood, Ohio becomes a site of resistance to Americanization and globalism. And by 1943, this cultural politics becomes overt: Powell decides that the novel Diarie s 217). But although this cultural turn of the novel is an intervention in global politics, it is importantly not reactionary because it does not propose isolationism as its regionalist strategy. Instead, the Midwest becomes a heterogeneous space of coop eration. My Home is Far Away that in a small radius of 100 square miles in Northern Ohio there are a half dozen different types of civilization a Finnish town, a Dutch town, a rubber town, steel town, and great grain fa rms, fruit Diaries 217). constituted by the dialectic tensions between center and periphery, the regional and the modern, aesthetics and spatial culture. But this comparison also points to the changing political, social, and spatial contexts of the region as place and regionalism as cultural relations for the Americ an landscape. If in the first example, the Midwest is a space
131 intrinsic to processes of Americanization, and in the second example it is a site of resistance to the negative effects of American modernity, these spatial contradictions could very well point Read another way, with her 1940 publication memos, Powell begins to work through how locality (the provinces, the periphery, the region) is produced, both as a space that reinforc es the nationalist agendas of the American Century and as a place whose particular history, culture, and social context provides an alternative model for development. Thus, these contradictions speak to the persistence of regional modernism as a cultural logic in the historical moment of late modernism. I must emphasize, however, that this turn to regional modernism in the moment of late modernism is not exclusively a rhetorical strategy. Satire and the American Century In Late Modernism: Politics, Fictio n, and Arts between World Wars Tyrus Miller development of the mass media, and traumatic events of social and political history historical trends that were incipient for high modernist writers, yet no so ineluctably part respective work of Fredric Jameson and Charles Jencks that insists upon late commentary argues for a set of comprehensive formal, thematic, and stylistic elements that comprises late modernism. 4 A crucial concept to which all of his elements refer is satire, a term expansive and ambidextrous enough to include late modernist irony reflexive laughter 4 A Singular Modernity: Essays on the Ontology of Present Late Modern Architecture
132 64). Because late modernism was, in part, a reaction to the ideology deflate its symbolic resources, reducing literary figures at points to a bald literalness or if the ideology of modern ism prevalent in the historical period of the American Century advocated an antipolitical subtext and an elitist rejection of mass culture, late modernist satire attempted to subvert this logic through more politicized and historical referents. 5 As an opp ositional strategy, then, late modernist satire not only refuses a formalist separation between literature, history, and politics, it also points to the importance of mass culture and popular forms for these narratives of modernism and Americanization. In modernism. However, I must point out that his theorization of late modernism, as well as his historical and political commentary, is predominantly interested in questions o f modernist texts engaged with social and political realities, to talk about aesthetics, and indeed form and style, is to gesture toward connections between literary m odernism and reflexivity, the institutionalization of high modernism, and the rise of the literary ficiently addresses the ways in which late modernism opens up to larger conversations about cultural politics 5 The Cultural Return, 41 44.
133 particularly successful in either critical o r commercial terms, [as] each work tended (13 Late modernist write rs were divested, by political and economic forces, of sense in which the singular works of high modernism seemed components of an aesthetically transfigured world. In the empty spaces l eft into disfigured likenesses of modernist masterpieces: the unlovely particularly his focus on optics, bea uty, and singularity seems to belie a significant political aspect of late modernism. If late modernism is the persistence of modernist theory and practice in the interwar and Cold War years, late modernism must also represent the persistence of modernism singularity, then, refuses the persistence of modernist forms of collectivity, totality, or utopia. Moving forward from this critique, I think it is important to acco unt for the connection between spatiality and late modernism. In the context of American literary history, the turn toward a spatial culture concept in the modernist moment was an attempt to work through various forms of individual and critical estrangeme nt: for example, the estranged perception of collective identity and the way in which uneven
134 modernity exacerbates alienation and cultural difference across geographic locations (Hegeman, Patterns for America 4). Although the spatial context of late moder nism might have changed, most obviously in the geopolitical and cultural shifts registered in the very naming of the America Century, these tensions persisted albeit with an important difference: the ideology of modernism espoused by the New York Intellect uals and the New Critics, which separated modernism from questions of history, politics, and daily living, also simultaneously moved away from the spatial logic of modernism (cultural relativism, regional development, geographical difference). 6 Hence, my Satire remains interesting to me because it seems to bridge both of these concer ns. On the one hand, it is a formal innovation that ambivalently or contentiously reacts to the literary marketplace; and on the other hand, it is a stylistic choice that betrays historical and geographical specificity. This ambidexterity opens toward a larger cultural politics in which aesthetic production and social reality, form and content, theory and practice, center and periphery are held in dialectic tension. And I think it is in t he convergence of larger cultural intervention: new sites for the production and representation of publics, 6 Patterns for America 158 192.
135 counterpublics, and mass culture via the development of new media ting frameworks of satire and, of course, regional modernism. 7 satirical novel, A Time To Be Born. It should be clear from my analysis that I am not interested in satire as a late modernist aesthetic style seeking to mediate a divide between a progressive avant garde and a conservative high modernism; nor am I and psychological forces on that elusive dimension of human life regionalism (local color, provinci alism, middlebrow taste, regional culture) and New York modernism (urbanism, elitism, highbrow taste, cosmopolitanism) complicates popular narratives of the geographic cultural divide inherent to the American Century. Susan Hegeman has pointed out that a mythologized midwestern provincialism as a regional trait ( Patter ns for America 135). While Powell certainly addressed the convergence of class taste and geographical region, she tended to satirize regional differences and uneven modernity a bit differently, especially because her representation of midwestern culture a nd 7 urther suggests that a counterpublic principle indefinite, because it is not based on a precise demography but mediated by print, theater, diffuse ne
136 that end, Catherine Keyser has suggested that women writers like Powell used literary rnity and (7). Here, holding in tension the cultural politics of geograph ical divides and gender the public sphere and daily life, both exchanges and remains distant from the literary marketplace, public intellectuals, and cultural industry. And yet, because of her caricature as a middlebrow woman writer, Powell contradictorily proves reliant on the very networks of politics, social relations, and culture that she seeks to critique. In A Time To Be Born one of the plot lines involves the ri se and fall of Amanda Keeler, an ambitious novelist and journalist who seduces newspaper publisher Julian the success of her debut (and ghost written) historical romance nov el, Such Is the Legend paired with her social climbing marriage to magnate Julian, has allowed thirty Amanda had all the beauty, fame, and wit that money could buy, and sh e had another advantage over her rivals, that whereas they were sometimes in doubt of their (23). But despite the social and material advantages of her two year marriage to Julian,
137 Amanda becomes bored with fidelity, although she is unprepared to divorce and thereby forfeit all of her hard won comforts. Enter Ken Saunders, a hack novelist with whom she wants to restart a long simmering affair, and Vicky Haven, a childhood f riend from Lakeville who moves to New York to escape her Ohio family and begin her career. To the world, and most importantly to Julian, Amanda making Vicky her protg seems a up her friend socially and profe ssionally (58). relocation becomes an advantageous opportunity to sneak around wit h Ken since Vicky the romantic front, a love triangle develops among the three friends, culminating with Vicky and Ken falling in love and eloping; on the domestic front, which is exacerbated by the initial failure of her tryst with Ken and her subsequent (and ultimately unsuccessful) effort to start a relationship with Hemingway like Andrew Callingham, Julian decides to divorce Amanda because she is a hazard to his publishing business suffers, of course, from her impending divorce, but also because her roman ces have distracted her from the shifting class based, wartime propaganda themes popular in women satirists: the way in which sexuality simultaneously functions as a source of
138 professional undoing. 8 But there is a second plot line in A Time To Be Born that, while alluded to above in and of itself: the rise of the Midwest as a significant political, social, and cultural terrain For Powell, Ohio functions as a metonym for regional culture crucial both for the way it affects the gender politics of women in the public sphere and the way in which regionalist culture begin to inflect (and indeed become profitable for) cosmopolitan social relations. At the same time that A Time To Be Born downfall (because of her cosmopolitan cunning and moral depravity) and simultaneous success (because of her independent work ethic and sexual restraint), the novel also plots a cultural turn to the Midwest, the middle class, and the middlebrow in New York publishing and, most importantly, the Evans media conglomerate. This turn starts as a companion critique of the domestic, feminized sphere. To negotiate the wrinkle creams, and magazine solved this editorial issue with a th democracy, and substitute regional culture for international style: would instruct its readers how to make their little homes into inexpensive castles of great beauty; if it was unpatriotic to praise Capri skies or to photograph Mediterranean resort activities, then 8 Playing Smart : New York Women Writers and Magazine Culture 1 19.
139 would loyally devote themselves to the hidden charms of Route 21, the bouquet of western vintages, the decorative possibilities of gilding horse chestnuts. (174) In other words, corners the middle class market by making the American periphery fashionable: real estate, family homes, and interior design become an affordable and profitable alternative to metropolitan luxury or wartime decadence. And while this editorial change was not isolationist per se, this pol nationalism in which the typical American family took on a particular ideological uxury propaganda (175). Julian soon turns his eyes homeward to the rising middle class market, having venture (192). About the same time that profits were ri counterpart. Contrary to purely rhetorical editorial changes catering in practice to the various needs of its large American audience with out in theory subscribing to their published positions Julian has both a financial and ideological investment. Not only does he begin to earmark more money for his Little American (for example, paying higher wages to Little Man reporters) and charge its s ubscribers more the Little Man out of darkness and to pamper him with platitudes, vague fight talk, and somewhat defeatist exhortations to be proud of being a Little
140 s t hat the common three periodicals Fortune, Time, and Life the ideological sentiments transfer nicely. middlebrow turn, his 1941 Life so These historical referents are more than speculative associations on my part. y, Powell describes the way in which the perverse class consciousness of the Little American translates into political and highbrow intellectual connections for Evans: the President weeklies began referring to Julian as an intellectual equal because of his pity interviews in which the Little People function in the prevailing cultu ral discourses: hardworking folks, common men, nontechnical workers, the uneducated masses, middle class elitism of the highbrow intellectuals than the progressivism o r populism of the New nevertheless extravagant: he fell in love with the superstition that the masses were
141 However, this wisdom was innate to the Little Man and importantly not a product of education. Of course, this editorial bias had unfortunate consequences namely the standardization of American culture and the deskilling and unculturing of the American population: Julian did not like at all if it developed that the simple sage had been corrupted by an average education, or if he betrayed a normal interest in reading. The subjects of his research must be one syllable little men, not articulate literates, as if lying, confusion, bigotry and corruption never came in one syllables, and in book learning alone was there sin and woe. This reverence for ignorance was apparently so deep seated in the public, as vouched for by Little American circulation, that it seems astonishing citizens continued to support colleges and schools. It would have been logical to assume that the serious parents would raise their chil dren to be oracles of ignorance, uncorrupted by the nuances of language, able to couch their Put differently, in romanticizing the Little Man, Evans and the Little American (and Luce and Life ) estab lished a framework for the ways in which the masses and the middle class would become associated with the most pernicious effects of American culture: fascism and consumerism. This cultural turn was part of a process which obfuscated regional culture inhe this framework, class, taste, and region began to work in the service of a subnationalism that was, more or less, interchangeable with cultural nationalism and its various ideologies. 9 Thi his Little American newspaper made him more favorable with the progressive leaning 9 Patterns for America 126 157.
142 Presiden war its acres and population were the testing laboratory for the myriad experiments being 273). A series of unfortunate circumstances thus be fell Amanda: Washington became the center of American public life and policy; she did not have the appropriate domestic credentials to become a female patriot because she had been crafting an internationalist persona; and she had missed her opportunity to capitalize on the mass cultural turn because she dismissively focused on the cultural elites and literary highbrows. In short, with cultural nationalism now wed to political nationalism, Amanda is only relevant insofar as she is married to Big Man Julian. Amanda decides on two courses of action: in the first place, she decides to finally leave her husband so long as there is another powerful romantic interest in queue to help promote her literary career; and in the second place, she decides not only to c apitalize on the mass cultural politics popular in this moment, but also to personally course of action having already been described in relation to the gender politi cs of A Time To Be Born, In this personal essay, Amanda confesses her humble origins: she was born and raised in Lakeville, Ohio; her father ran a hab have enough food to eat. Although her success among middlebrow
143 subscribers skyrocketed with the publication of her essay, among the smart set and the publishing elite her work proves a bit more contentious. Mr. Castor, Little American contradictory logic of this new confession, namely that she had before gloated about connection between middle minded these days. They are massing against the few, the rich, the titled, the aristocrats. Nothing could have been more politic than building up herself as a woman is way t his publication will make sense especially since the picture accompanying the proletarian smile to still maintain literary status, a writer could only be regionalist insofar as they have good taste; it was gauche to be both from the periphery and common folk. Julian, however, recognizes the essay as the personal affront it is meant to be. Initially upset that he will be judged for having married a low class woman, the newspaperman becomes livid when he recognizes that the essay reads like something Callingham would have written. This is a problem for Julian not only rios is now his romantic rival. Callingham, whether he is ghost writer or editor, now becomes a potential highbrow competitor for Little Man cultural capital. Indeed, Callingham is neither interested in maintaining a relationship with Amanda nor in harmi
144 A Time To Be Born intersect: the rise and fall of Amanda Keeler correlates with the institutionalization of peripheral (regionalist, mi ddle class, middlebrow) culture. What Powell implicitly points to is the fact that narratives on the feminization of culture and the use value of uneven modernity make the very ideology of the American Century possible. Late Modernism and the Marriage Plo t To a certain degree, A Time to Be Born works as a national romance. On the one hand, the economically and politically lucrative rise of Little Man themes and middlebrow cultural productions, the professional success of Vicky independent of conventional working girl sexuality, and the novel concluding marriage of provincial Vicky and cosmopolitan Ken can be read as reconciling diverse subnational and national interests in the historical moment of World War II and the development of American internationali sm. On the other hand, however, Powell takes up this national romance, this love story between the Midwest and New York City broadly stated, for its satirical critique. Rather than harnessing the affective force of the love story to champion marriage as a domestic response to world conflict, to justify the ends of thirties regionalism, or to mediate the political, social, economic, and cultural inequalities inherent in the American Century, Powell instead uses romance to critique all of these developments 10 motives. Trilling again becomes representative of the way in which serious critical attention has misread her work or misrepresented her satire. On two separate 10 The Map of Love.
145 occasions, she levels A Time To Be Born as a stereotypical, sentimental disappointment. Both of her critiques originate with what she views as the contrived marriage of Vicky and Ken. In the first example, her 1942 Nation review of the novel, she supposes that Amer Perhaps it is because there is no proper satiric tradition nowadays for Powell to work in; so that she loses heart and dubs in, as a backdrop to sat ire, the kind of love story nice, little small town girl wins away the great big tough newspaperman from the glamourous big time beauty that she would be the satir ical fiction in her 1949 Nation review of The Locusts Have No King Returning to A Time To Be Born, representative less of an American tradition than a particular female inflection of Am tio r affection to a pair of utterly inconsequential young lovers an unnecsssary, indeed an (612). Even if Powell contextualizes the marriage of Vicky and Ken with a degree o f mpt to
146 woman writer ends her satirical novel with a marriage it necessaril y reinscribes a normative gender politics, conforms to the sentimental gestures of romance genres, and Needless to say, Trilling does not take seriously the point of the marriage scene, not to say its novel ending significance. The last pages of the text conclude in the bedroom of the recently married couple, Vicky sitting on the bed surrounded by a mound of Sunday papers and Ken pecking at the typewriter by the window. Vicky looking for information on Am anda, especially since news has broken that Callingham will soon marry his dancer fiance in Egypt. The remainder of the scene in the to do a lot of talking in their marr ied life to cover up the silences when Ken might be to enlist in the army; and we learn that Vicky plans to be an army wife, following him to training camp in the South. But speak haltingly and hesitatingly to one another; and when they do converse, they are incapable of talking to each other about the futurity of their relationship. To that end, both seem to doubt the longevity of their marriage. Following his declaration to Vicky know about you. Nev
147 was speaking the truth or what he hoped was the truth. For that matter, neither was (327). This kin d of ambivalent final twist is similar to a number of national romances, The Bostonians which concludes with the couple (allegorically North and South) uniting, and a final sentence that inv erts a conventional prediction of matrimony with the union, so far from brilliant, into which [ Northern feminist Verena Tarrant ] was 4). In addition to its ambivalence about postbellum American culture, this particular national romance is also uneasy about feminism and the general role of women in society. Nevertheless, James makes clear that these movements (Reconstruction and femini sm) are somehow useful for national culture more broadly. According to Jennifer Rae Greeson, the function of these kinds of realist national romances is to imagine marriage as a vehicle for limning the conversion of t he nation from soi disant republic into a self In this context, the strained relationships among the characters paired with the including, plot in relation to national reconciliation, and correspondingly what must be su bjugated to make this new Very quickly we can say that narratives criti cal of race relations or gender equality are put in tension with American masculinity and muscular force,
148 American exceptionalism in his attempt to organize and control his social world (James 4 63). 11 I must also point out the spatial politics at work in this realist national romance, which of course ha ve direct bearing on subsequent romance plots like A Time To Be Born. r omance joins together the sectional nation and its diverse regional cultures in order to survive the trauma of war (the Civil War and Reconstruction) and cope with new socio political developments ( postbellum nationalism, the rise industrial capitalism, th e emergence of American globalism the abolition of slavery, the strengthened feminist movement, etc. ) The ambivalence that realist writers like James exhibit toward the national romance, then, could very likely be a product of revealing new ideological contradictions or problematic social relations at the same time they are imaginatively This question of ambivalence about the marriage plot must now be reframed in relation to A T ime T o Be Born specifically considering the relationship between regional modernism, gender relations, and middlebrow culture. Returning to its function as a roman clef of Clare Boothe Luce becomes important. This novel satirizes both the zine formula for its feminized content (how to cure a broken heart, how to gird yourself for war, how to achieve high style) and the way in which smart women must conform to problematic gender stereotypes despite their purported independence, power, and we alth. In this context, Powell is satirizing the specific circumstances that necessitate Clare/Amanda be married to Henry/Julian to legitimate and maintain her own cultural capital. In a similar fashion, although they do not marry for increased 11 The Bostonians reading of the relationship betw een gender and sub nationalism.
149 money or s ocial station, Vicky and Ken do marry for security: their union is less a sentimental belief in marriage than a desire for companionship and the potential for romantic fulfillment. From the particular contexts of these two examples, A Time To Be Born can also be read as opening up to a larger critique of the social constructs of the institution of marriage, as well as the paradox of marriage within modernism. A central premise that Powell forces us to reckon with is that marriage has a complex and contra dictory history that does not easily reflect conservative, radical, normative, or progressive cultural friend Ethel reflects that she cannot be optimistic about any marriage, let alone her attitudes prevalent in twentieth century society and pol itics toward marriage conventions and marital norms, but it also enables a critique of the marriage plot in literary modernism. If modernity characteristically reinforces a social imperative to marry, then modernism should at the very least disrupt cultur al assumptions, dogmatic complacencies, or bourgeois conventions about marriage. 12 And yet, as many critics have pointed out, especially on the issue of marriage, modernism seems ambivalent (if not reactionary) to radical cultural change, especially as it relates to marriage. 13 reaction to the emergence of feminism and the figure of the New Woman, then we can 12 The Gender of Modernity A Genealogy of Modernism, 59. 13 The Marriage Par a dox: Modernist Novels and the Cu ltural Imperative to Marry 1 18.
150 of marriage while simultaneously reinforcing the marital norm. As Davida Pines points out, historiography suggests that literary modernism broadly rea ffirms marriage conventions even as particular novels appear to subvert it (3). On the other hand, modern texts that fail to directly critique marital norms might actually actively critique the institution of marriage as part of a larger ideological criti que: say, of capitalism, class relations, modernity, globalization, etc. A final comparison of Clare Boothe Luce and Dawn Powell will be instructive to flesh out the nuances of this paradox of marriage in relation to the politics of late modernism. Ther ideological disagreement over the postwar air world; their difference of opinions about the function of the middle class and mass culture in the political, social, and cultural developments of the American Century; their different responses to feminism and identity politics; and, of course, the fictionalization of Luce as Amanda Keeler. Constructively, both women write literary texts that incorporate a marriage plot as central to their critiques o f modern American women and the political context of their The Women mentioned novel, A Time To Be Born. Broadly stated, The Women is a satirical commentary on wealthy Manhattan socialites and the means through which these women must maintain their power: including, ruthless gossip, invasive beauty regimens, conspicuous consumerism, and manipulative sexuality. In this Depression era marriage plot, which also functions as a comedy of manners, Mrs. Mary Haines decides to travel to Reno to
151 divorce her husband, Stephen, after the news of his affair with shop girl Crystal is circulated in the gossip columns. While in Reno, waiting for her divorce to be granted, Mary learns that her husband has married his m istress, foiling her plans for reconciliation. However, two years later and still pining for Stephen, Mary learns that Crystal has been unfaithful and, with the help of her catty friends, schemes to expose this infidelity. At the close of the play, we l earn that the old Mrs. Haines wins: in the Powder Room at the Casino Roof, a message is delivered to the quarrelling women: the first wife, the mother of his children, and the faithful woman who fights for him The Women has contradictory readings regarding its feminist politics: some critics have condemned the play as negatively representing women as exclusively vapid and shallow, thereby marginalizing them within literary discourse; and other critics have championed the play as a feminist text that challenges the social construction and status of women in American culture. However, I am less interested in the po litical stakes of these interpretations than I am more generally interested in the marriage and motherhood. I think that it is productive to read The Women in relation t o a film genre specifically referring to a selection of 1930s American comedies made to evade the restrictions of sexuality and morality mandated by the Hays Code There are two caveats that I mus t offer about this reading strategy. In the first place, the genre is different and thus the mass cultural effect of the play will have subtle differences compared to a filmic comedy
152 of remarriage. But because this play is adapted to film in 1939, I thin k these loose literary associations are more than plausible. In the second place, of the comedy of remarriage requires the active efforts of both parties to reunite. In the case of The Women is absent and indeed his actions are irrelevant to the all women play. In this case, we can read The Women as of the marriage bond [as epitomizing] the fate of the Put another way, in her representation of thirties gender politics and related ideologies of marriage, we can read Luce as pessimistically challenging the correlation between American cultural progress (feminism, social ref orm movements, the expansion of the middle class, etc.) and American national birthrights (freedom, equality, the pursuit of happiness, etc.) for women. Broadly stated, Cavell argues that the development of the comedy of remarriage genre coincides with, this genre, despite its slapstick comedy or sexual innuendo, is an ideological attempt to create marriage based on mutual love: Our films may be understood as parables of a phase of the development of consciousness at which the struggle for love is for the reciprocation or equality of consciousness between a woman and a man, a study of the conditions under w hich this fight for recognition (as Hegel put it) or demand for acknowledgement (as I have put it) is a struggle for mutual freedom, especially of the views each holds of the other. This gives the films of our genre a Utopian cast. They harbor a vision w hich they know cannot fully be domesticated, inhabited, in the world we know Showing us our fantasies, they express the inner agenda of a nation that conceives Utopian longings and commitments itself. (17 18)
153 In this context, in this moment of econ omic depression and New Deal modernism, romance replaces religious or economic necessity as the exemplar of domestic partnership and marital bliss. But we could also say that this cultural turn toward romance exemplified in the comedy of remarriage also r eflects a shift toward patriotic deviance inherent to modernity. 14 wo key points: that the ideological developments of Americanism and Fordism are coextensive with the developments of feminist political movements and gendered divisions of labor; and that whatever radical possibility the comedy of remarriage genre might su bversively articulate in spite of cultural censorship very likely might fail due to conservative misprision or mass cultural ignorance. This point circles us back to the start of the section and the proposal that say that comedies of remarriage function as political allegories for their particular historical moment means that we can draw some significant conclusions about their interventions into narratives of thirties American modernity: the demands of daily life having direct bearing on both domestic and foreign policy; the rise of the middle class and the fear of mass culture prompting both conciliatory pandering and ideological manipulation from politicians, businessmen, and the developing culture industry; and the stalling possibility of political, social, or cultural movements making history and enacting progressive change. It is in this moment that I read Powell as most damning: whereas Luce and The Women are squarely situated in 14 Down in the Dumps: Place, Modernity, American Depression 32 67.
154 thirties periodizat ion, Powell and A Time To Be Born marks the foreclosure of class divorce culture and the general silliness of women, and we quite generously grant that she is pointing to ward a national fidelity outside of consumer capitalism, unchecked progress, or bad identity politics, we can perhaps catch a glimpse of thirties utopia. play and the f ailure of the remarriage genre: in both cases, its subjects of critique (the middle class, sexuality, gender, the periphery) and its cultural idealism become institutionalized. Thus, A Time To Be Born represents the marriage plot of late modernism: Powell critique of the institution of marriage as it is a question of the place of the middle class in the American Century.
155 CHAPTER 5 BESIDES RAISING SIX CHILDREN BY THREE MA RRIAGES: KAY BOYLE A ND THE POLITICS OF LATE MOD ERNISM Kay Boyle sits next to [Marcel Duchamp], looking now more Latin than Irish: one might take her for an admired diva who has passed in a moment from a fit of scorn to an outburst of hilarity. Kay is the baby of the group, havi ng been born in 1903. When she was a girl in Cincinnati, she met a French engineer who married her and took her to Paris in 1922. She was then a rather elfin creature, and one looks back with amazement at the work she has accomplished. Besides raising s ix children by three marriages, she has written twenty volumes of fiction and three volumes of poetry. In his Esquire situates Kay Boy writer is first contextualized in terms of her beauty, her provincial origins, and her domestic life. Despite her forty year career as a modernist writer having worked for little magaz Fellowships and two O. Henry awards, and accumulated innumerable friends in New York and Paris Boyle is instead marginalized as a woman modernist. More specifically, she is characteri zed as peripheral to modernism and formally and politically conservative because literary critics like Cowley read work that in theory and practice engage questions of gender, sexuality, domesticity, kinship, romance, etc., as marginal to the larger aesthe motherhood overshadow her modernist theory, aesthetics, and practice (77). And yet, Boyle is significant for a historical narrative of mode rnism especially for the cultural estrangement that female modernists experience in the postwar moment. Having written about romantic relationships and unconventional family politics, and having criticized American war efforts, Boyle found herself both ma rginalized in literary circles and investigated in the
156 House of Un countered social, political, and cultural norms by writing about outr subjects, she also politicized them. Boyle be comes important because she shows how the family became a crucial culture, it also rep resents an intimate and domestic space in which global modernity has challenge to the r eification of the family within late modernism. By contrast, her leftist which talk about American labor and class relations, allegorize American postcolonial investments in the Middle East, and teach American children about war crimes an d genocide paired with her 1960s feminist, anti racist, and labor late modernism and its attendant Americanization: middlebrow culture, domestic fiction, literature become strategic examples of a relativist Americanism, where domestic politics and foreign policy intersect. politics of critical regionalism, tracing a line tha t connects a legacy of American leftist politics, a comparative project of modernist culture, and a critique of postwar reconstruction and globalization. I will begin by reading the development of a late modernist critical regionalism in her 1944 long poe m, American Citizen: Naturalized in Leadville, Colorado In this poem, Boyle constructs a comparative geographical
157 relationship between Colorado Army training camps and European theaters of war that puts in tension not only the politics of cultural nation alism and the increasing globalization of American culture but also the gendered politics of home front and battlefield. From this initial consideration of World War II as necessarily regional and domestic, Boyle continues this move toward critical region alism with a study of family in The Youngest Camel (1939), and continuing with The Youngest Camel: Reconsidered and Rewritten (1959), and Pinky in Persia (1968), Boyle not only writes a material ist history that relates developments in global social relations with family life; she also importantly relates global modes of production to the division of labor on the domestic front. This particular generic turn to the family proves significant as she offers two distinct, but of course politically aligned, critiques of the history of global capitalism in the American Century. Domestic Politics: American Citizenship and the American Century Boyle began American Citizen: Naturalized in Leadville, Colo rado in April 1943, when her third husband, Austrian Joseph Franckenstein became an American citizen. both personal and political concerns. In August 1942, Franckenstein had been drafted into the United States Army as a foreign national with the assigned job of training American soldiers for winter warfare. In February 1943, after receiving her divorce from Laurence Vail, Boyle and Franckenstein married. What should hav e been the start of their marital bliss actually marked the beginning of the political investigations of the couple. The two term investigation of Boyle, in which she was falsely accused of having an affair with protofascist Ezra Pound. It also marked the beginning of federal
158 investigations of Franckenstein, which would continue until he died of cancer in 1963. To start his long term interrogations, federal agents ask ed Franckenstein to read a German document aloud to test his competency in German; he became increasingly angry when in the middle of his spontaneous reading he discovered that he was reading an oath of allegiance to Hitler, not to mention following his co nfrontation he had to j ustify that his language skills were a product of being an Austrian native and his PhD credentials, and not an insidious devotion to Nazism (Mellen 27). This context provides a crucial framework for reading the poem. There are two quite obvious ways to read American Citizen of her husband. As the back cover of the Simon and Schuster published poem makes forces for the past two years. Before that, he fought fascism as a private citizen of Austria and, in Europe, suffered internment in a concentration camp for his anti fascist ents not only a benevolent immigrant but also an ideal American, American Citizen positions Franckenstein as symbolic of all American soldiers fighting in World War II. More specifically, Boyle makes clear that the significance of his citizenship like his military service is rooted in both domestic politics and home life and foreign policy and simply as a beloved man who is away on a dangerous mission of great import ance; he is seen as a symbol of what all good men must be in times like these, of what they
159 seems that marital love and love of country work together to produce a new mean ing of American citizenship and national sacrifice. There is a third context that influences the way in which American Citizen must world war. To sum up the prci s, the publishers suggest the importance of geography and the hard, stern aspects of the State of Colorado. Its diction is as American as its setting, and its r a zones in the Colo rado wilderness and the domestic spaces of the neighboring camp towns articulate tensions important to the American World War II effort, including for ravery; regional encampments and world war; American citizenship and internationalism. Especially in the last two examples, Boyle points toward a crucial development: the productive relationship between the regional, the national, and the global; or put d ifferently, the comparative relationship between regionalism, nationalism, and globalization. To that end, the biographical context of the Boyle Franckenstein relationship becomes the instigating circumstance through which Boyle can comment on larger worl d politics. In this framework of regional modernism, we can read simultaneously the dialectical relationships between the personal and the political, the general and the particular, and the local and the global. Thus, American
160 Citizen consists of a meton ymic relationship between a married couple, regional terrains, American citizenship, and wartime internationalism. American Citizen is divided into five parts, which shift between male and female escribes the difficulty of hardship of being separated from family, and the psychologi cal anxiety of being an Austrian who must doubly prove his American military allegiance and citizenship service at Camp Hale, training American soldiers in mountain climb ing, Alpine skiing, and cold weather survival, in relation to his war service already completed both as an anti fascist activist and war prisoner. Franckenstein, whose austerity and solemnity is heightened by the Colorado winter, works against the memory of Nazi occupation at the same time as of nationalism in the context of global war. She imag ines a soliloquy that Franckenstein will deliver as he hikes from camp to town. He will remember his conscription, internment, escape, and voluntary military service, not as an Austrian or an American, And just as he is a kind of global citizen, refused nationality by wartime annexation or is not Colorado, this is not the West, this not have left not an army camp tonight, but my own soil. Let Pando be Austria then, and I
161 Fighting in the American army, and later as an American citizen, is a way to fight the country, not leaving Redcliff to slog on to Minturn, but crossing from Austria by the In her friend, the novelist Carson McCullers, waiting for leave visitation, waiting for letters, and waiting for their soldiers to return (6). McCullers becomes an interesting character in American Citizen especially because (4). This dedication is curious for two reasons: not only did her husband not serve ov erseas, but Carson had been divorced from Reeves McCullers for three years by the Mellen, involving McCullers in this mythology is an attempt to demonstrate the ways in ection, are interchangeable, your dreams with mine and mine with yours, mingling as gracefully The question becomes, what are the dreams that all women, but especially Boyle modernist movement, as well as the fact that their respective forties regionalist fiction
162 ha s anti fascist themes, the answer should poi nt towards the place of the woman writer in the war effort. Therefore, in addition to proving herself a worthy partner to Franckenstein, Boyle must also prove herself a worthy citizen. And by extension American Citizen ime production, one that works fascist regional modernism. In the concluding section of American Citizen establishes a comparison between American soldiers and their cosmopolitan compatriot particular look, and continues by comparing Franckenstein to a list of anti fascists that includes douard Herriot, Giacomo Matteoti, Lon Blum, Henry Wallace, and Juan Negr n (13 regardless of individual background (nationality, age, profession) or dancing ability rhy (14). Meaning, they are men of action who continue their fight regardless of imprisonment, occupation, or exile. wartime labor, at the end of American Citizen Boyle wants her work to be more comparable to the fearless men she honors. She decides that the wait and worry, the housekeeping or the fortune telling, is not appropriate for either herself or McCullers. In stead, they must actively participate in the war effort by writing: In days like these when peoples in migrati on stage the allegory of racial f light, We have become articulate. When generations play the
163 And triumph out, then we are marvelously and faithfully portrayed. Shall we Despair that men we love move from the wings and take their part in history? Let us say only That their names are there. (15) Her solidarity with the soldiers, and indeed her wartime labor, demanded that she remind Americans on the home front of their connection to the war and their relationship to the war effort. Her task, as the closing stanza suggests, is to link the struggle for freedom fought by Franckenstein and his anti fascist compatriots to the American public. To a degree, Boyle determined her work must be Allied propaganda. indeed her politicization of domestic subjects, her writing shifts considerably with her 1941 American repatriation. Thomas Austenfeld describes this develo pment in terms of what he calls the of American women writers like Boyle, Katherine Anne Porter, Jean Stafford, and Louise Hellman (but which also could be expanded to include Gertrude Stein) : an eighteen awareness of the real 59). According to A For him, the effects of this development include a shift in both form and cont domestic to public life, from family to politics, from perceived conflict with her mother in wartime modernism, but with certain accommodations. In the firs t place, for her pre
164 1941 writing, we should be wary of generalizations that suggest domestic life, family narratives, or other typically feminine issues are necessarily not political. Although the majority of her fiction written during her close to twent y year life in Europe fictionalizes aspects of her own life, to say that her Lost Generation kunstlerromans like Process (1925) and Year Before Last (1932) or novels about domestic disputes and cosmopolitan kinship like Plagued by the Nightingale (1931) ar e not conventionally between domestic space and national identity. In the second place, in her post politicization as an expansi on, and not a rejection, of her earlier work. As American Citizen demonstrates, Boyle makes domestic life and the family political subjects through which she explore larger questions of national identity, national allegiance, government policy, or combat ethics. Moreover, I would argue that Boyle in fact re politicizes regionalism (and all its attendant themes and subjects) in the moment it is being foreclosed by the historical developments of political and economic globalization and aesthetic late modern ism. Describing a poet that she had known in Paris, Boyle a realist. He is mumbling and bungling about in a vague state somewhere and to a person of action it is most unsatisfactory. He is perhaps completely a poet, and had literary development therefore was strategic. To paraphrase Sandra Whipple Spanier, generally, and regional modernism specifically, was what she thought necessary to communicate her urgent wartime message (152).
165 These are crucial distinctions. My insistence that the family, the home, or the domestic are political spaces anticipates the ir reification in the postwar American Century. Indeed, reading the family in relation to the region, the nation state, and the globe creates a comparative context refusing privilege to one political space and its respective ideologies over another. And yet, while Boyle might refuse American political, social, and cultural hegemony, her project nevertheless conspires to a certain degree with the development of global Americanism. For example, for the 1942 publication of Primer for Combat Boyle replaces the survival of ourselves as individuals, and of the survival of that freedom, honor, and llen 270). What initially reads as nationalist propaganda war bonds address American wartime needs the back matter takes on a different color when read with the novel. The primary plot of Primer for Combat consists o f h er Austrian lover from his military internment and to secure papers and passage so he might immigrate on the third day of the armistice between France and Germany, is also centrally inv ested in narrating the slow imposition of fascism, as well as the quicker effects of modernism in this moment of late modernism, two themes become important: the role of the periphery in relation to the political, social, and cultural developments of fascism;
166 Boyle counters a particular narrative that reads the countryside as a space conducive t o fascism, specifically through its attachment rhetoric of family, blood, and soil and practices of cultural nationalism and isolationism. Gauging the town of The keynote is can never be the same. It is difficult to say whether any lasting judgments can be based on the reactions of this smal l and frontier community, but I am here and I see no chance of going further for the moment, so all this must serve as a substratum for what is to come. (22) s collective refusal to subscribe to the popular rhetoric of immediate demobilization, militarized zoning, and the institutionalization of the provisional government. Indeed, this oppositional stance is despite the official propaganda being offered by the Vichy regime. Instead of reading the newspapers, all of which conservatively support the provisional government, the majority of Pontcharra listens to the Free French radio addresses. According to Phyl, the effect of this alternative least is outraged by the treachery of a specific coalition, the names of which form it of the to lesson: the cultural tensions produced in this center/periphery dynamic can function as an oppositional politics. Pontcharra becomes not only a literal site of resistance to Naz i military advances in the Alps. The rural commune also functions as a different cultural space than rebel center Paris or provisional center Vichy. As a site of uneven development that negotiates the cultural politics and material realities of Paris and
167 Vichy, Pontcharra also mediates their narratives of theory and practice: the region functions as a space to work through the contradictory totalities of world war and national autonomy, ultimately remapping a third space for modernity different from twent ieth century globalization or nationalism. Toward the end of Primer for Combat Boyle reveals that the success of this a conversation between Phyl and Paul, a French soldier who had escaped his prison camp and was aided primarily by women he encountered on his travels away from the eternal boundaries of war and peace and right and wrong in a (190). They sustain the French army and the liberation movement. Not only do they provide for the material needs of daily life, both for noncombatants and soldiers alike, women also provide different perspectives that challenge w artime ideologies. According to Paul, the women he met on his escape gave him food and shelter, and they provided him with the authentic picture if you have the patience to try it one way and then another until you had their part in businesses, and the only thing that women were legally prohibited from having their part in was the French government
168 The Youngest Camel : Late Modernism and the American Family and specifically how she responds to deeply political q uestions about citizenship, gender, and labor we can make three generalizations about her work: nationalisms after repatriating. She maintains a belief in democracy in theory and practice. Boyle holds onto the idea that America is the expression of its people, a notion that directly challenges an ideological tenet of the American Century, in which the exceptionalist United States defines American citizenship. Her cultural turn to regional modernism corresponds to developments in which the nation incongruence is at least one aspect of the politics involved in the late modernist tensions between center and periph ery. Following the Second World War, these generalizations take on a new political significance because of postwar American policies: on the one hand, foreign policies for European reconstruction like the Marshall Plan; and on the other hand, domestic poli cies centering on anti communist investigations like McCarthyism and Cold War politics. These policies have personal effects for Boyle as well. As a New Yorker foreign correspondent, a large component of her assignment was to report on postwar daily life in Occupied Germany. Following his decorated military service while deployed in Europe, Franckenstein also found work specifically related to European recovery and employee operations (Mellen 301, 303). In this capacity, he also worked for the military government of Hesse in Wi
169 American model with news and editorial s separated to ensure that Nazi s could not dominate the presses and return to positio ns of authority (Mellen 309). But despite their respective work, and in spite of their mutual democratic beliefs in thought and action, both Boyle and Franckenstein were again subjected to more political scrutiny and investigations by conservative America n politicians. The couple was investigated by American Activities Committee because Boyle had undersigned political causes ranging from American pro labor movements to the German democratic trade union movement, in addit ion to critiquing U.S. policies on civil rights and Cold War containment strategies; and because Franckenstein as a German speaking intellectual was suspected of pro Soviet sentiments. (and isolation from) her modernist cohort, Boyle made a conscious decision to become expressly political. Following the completion of her Loyalty Hearing in 1952, Boyle t have something to protect me so that this kind of thing cannot happen again. For the first Because she was effectively blacklisted from the majority of national magazine s and New York publishing houses, she followed through with this promise by breaking with her conventional habits of politicking exclusively through her biographical fiction. Two of these developments were synchronous: in 1963, she started a position as a member of the creative faculty at San Francisco State University; and in the early 1960s she became a political activist for anti racist, anti war, feminist, and labor movements. The
170 third development is a mediation of her writing and the personal and political effects of Cold War policies in her daily life. Having written t celebrity, following her and indeed to her first The Youngest Camel with revisionary political perspectives. Taken together, we can say her personal and political development i s toward a radical unities actively Learning 17). In this moment of late modernism, Boyle underlines her commitment to the American values of democracy and free expression while remaining critical of their unjust applications. In The Youngest Camel leftist intellectual tradition: she tells the story of a mother and son pair of working camels that must overcome several ordeals to both receive a reward for their labor and achieve consciousness and enlightenment. In this series, the 1939 text is playfully on, The Youngest Camel pedagogy for negotiating authority, autonomy, and family responsibility in adolescent development. With this series, we can see a shift towards a cultural politics of crit ical regionalism, starting from the premise that modernity has its roots in older, dormant
171 cultures and universal civilization, all the while suggesting that this project begins at a her brood of si x children, her fictional critiques of the Marshall Plan, and her interrogation by the House Un American Activities Committee we can read the political unconscious of the later text as implicitly commenting on the effects of the Cold War and McCarthyism. While the youngest through the labor and value associated with the first two that democratic culture can persist. The critical history of The Youngest Camel series is interesting for several juvenile fiction as a separate and significant field in the American publishing industry, both for t he money and the cultural capital that this new genre offered. In the 1930s, she became one of several modernists who and on the way in which this genre might introduce authors to a middlebro w audience not familiar with their work, thereby increasing the sales of their modernist writing. By the 1950s, when Boyle revised The Youngest Camel books. As Mickenberg has importantly noted, at th ( Learning 5). For Boyle, the genre not only allowed her to remain in the public eye and with a beginning
172 opportunity to critique American pol itics and to continue her conversation about the interrelatedness of citizenship, domesticity, and foreign policy. This is the beginning of those in power. The di fference between the two Youngest Camel books is largely an issue of tone. For both books, the primary theme centers on the love between an aging mother camel and her youngest son, with the plot lines including: the tensions between a single mother who wo rks hard to support her creative son who has never worked in his life; the lessons that the supportive mother tries to give her son as he moves toward adulthood ritual i n which camels are abandoned in the desert and can only return home through successful completion of a series of events. In both books, the youngest camel, overcome with despair and self invaluable less Youngest Camel 36). This provides an instructive example of the ways the texts diverge. In the lessons about in dependence and self sufficiency, as well as physical directions so that ne E R N O D! Youngest Camel 38 39). By contrast, in without needing t Reconsidered 44).
173 This change in tone between the two editions also correlates to the subtle differences in their respective conclusions. In both editions, the youngest camel chooses a necklace of magic beads over a delicious bag of ashes as his final test in the ordeal of loneliness. Although the conclusions are the same, the rationale and the effects of this decision are quite different. In the 1939 text, the youngest camel chooses the necklace despite the fact that the old le ader of the white caravan of camels always chosen the bag of ashes because it was the Youngest 96). He does this for three reasons: the magic beads are an invaluable treasure; the red opal w ill transport him directly to his mother; Youngest 96). In the 1959 text, the youngest camel chooses the necklace, but rationalizes away the magic associated with it. Part of as an artist. In this version, the final test is not that he chooses the magic beads so that he might return to his mother or gift her the necklace, although these are important consequences of his decisio n. The lesson of his final test is realizing that he invented the necklace and its magical significance during his youthful extravagance and that as Reconsidered 93). And he successfully completes his ordeal of loneliness when he realizes he must write his Reconsidered 93 94). This turn to a kind of literalism makes the youngest camel understand what is most important: not a lush green vale to live in or eternal youth as he proclaimed at the start of The Youngest Camel but being content with his mother in their quotidian lives. Put differently, in this
174 moment of late m odernism, The Youngest Camel puts in tension magic (religion, fantasy, modernism) and daily life (the domestic, material needs, social realism) without privileging one concept or division over another. Instead, the writer figure in this case, the youngest camel must negotiate this new cultural framework. Of course, the shift in tone from playfulness to earnestness represent more than s conclusion, represent s response to domestic and family life. Without venturing too close to a biographical According to Mellen, Boyle wrote The Youngest Camel addition to critiquing her husb and, Boyle supposedly also wrote the book to her n (223). While this personal family context certainly informs the narrative of The Youngest Camel there is also a larger social context that we must In 1956, Boyle began to pla n her follow up to the 1939 Youngest Camel At the rather writing a sequel that told the story of the youngest camel and his mother moving to Pisa, Italy. Accordi ng to Boyle, her narrative was motivated by two postwar
175 developments. One event was the re assembling of a herd of camels on royal estates near Pisa: Up until World War II, dromedaries of the finest strain were bred on the San Rossore estate as a royal ho bby. But when hard times came, the herd was dispersed (and it is quite likely that many of the camels ended up as steaks on the tables of hungry Italians). But now Italian ministers and e camel dealers in the Arab countries, and, sponsored by the Italian government, some of the finest dromedaries in the world have been shipped to Pisa for breeding purp oses on the San Rossore estate. The second event described in her book pr first reading, these historical developments do not seem to fit with the narrative of camels in Arabia, so their family travels to Italy; the youngest camel discovers that the Leaning Tower of Pisa is in danger, so he enacts ways to save it from collapse, acquiring much wisdom in the process; and he leads a caravan of camels from San Rossore to Pisa to successfully engineer his plan. writing this sequel. In the first place, Boyle remarks that the camels, led by the been able to, and the youngest camel brings untold honor upon himself, his mother, and a rationale for why the mother would be selected as one of the finest Arabian camels, and why the young est
176 seven government ministers must be capable at times of seeing beyond the outer aspect to the inner truth of things. And I believe that the youngest prove to be prophecy instead of fantasy. It seems to me almost inevitable that the dromedaries, with their timeless endurance and their sense of balance, will accomplish in their 3). In sum, the youngest camel succeeds when engineers and government ministers do not. But this simple premise requires further consideration, especially in the context of Rather than offer hypothetical answers about a text that was never written and indeed only discussed in a ten page archival file I am going to offer an answer that immediately before a nd after. In both of these periods, Boyle underscores the political function of the artist. In this moment of late modernism, the youngest camel, representing the artist figure, offers a more successful postwar reconstruction plan than either engineers o r politicians. By extension, the political function of art is to provide different historical narratives and alternative models of postwar development. Whereas the engineers represent scientific specialization and the politicians represent a reactionary return to monarchical tradition, the youngest camel, the dromedary caravan, and their plan symbolize the relationship between art and democracy. Although she does not complete this particular book, she takes up this specific theme in The Youngest Camel: Reconsidered and Rewritten In this sequel, we find the youngest camel both questioning authority and using critical thinking skills. To this end, idea that indepe ndent thinking is political. As Julia Mickenberg and Phillip Nel have pointed out, twentieth
177 change, to trust their own instincts, to explore alternative social arrangements and to use Tales 1). This is why the different conclusion is significant for the 1959 text. The youngest camel (youth, art, democracy) challenges the old leader of the white caravan of camels (poli d not have people in every country in the world paying me homage and not be the leader of the caravan of white cam els any Reconsidered 90). The youngest camel follows this question with another that pointedly asks the point of keeping the necklac e if the old leader never wants to use its powers and dissuades all of the young camels in Reconsidered 91). Broadly stated, the young est camel democratically chooses the necklace and he likewise chooses to share with his mother all that it contains (shelter, food, material comforts, youth, and love). Thus, to o question authority, Boyle encourages American children to speculate about what might be while also inviting them to question what is ( Tales 4). Cold War Histories: Postwar Globalization and Regional Frameworks In reimagining postwar Americanism in the 1 950s as necessarily bound to the cultural logic of the family and the domestic sphere, Boyle is to a certain degree participating in Cold War rhetoric that positions the nuclear family as a metonymy for American exceptionalism. But this invocation of the family and the domestic sphere is also strategic. By invoking the family as representative of the nation in twentieth
178 century Americanism, Boyle shows crucial exceptions about how the nuclear family is constituted as a national family. In this context, h er 1950s revisionary history opens toward her political activism in the 1960s, specifically her involvement with pacifist and civil rights movements. A specific contradiction that Boyle exposes in her critique of American democracy refused to its black citizens. Beginning with her 1950s foreign press work, Boyle begins to question the relationship between the democracy of domestic American culture and the democratiza tion of European postwar recovery. For example, in The Smoking Mountain: Stories of Postwar Europe (1951), Boyle foreign dispatches and short stories, Boyle also writes back to her audience about domestic concerns, most often using the concept of the family to scaffold her discovering a German boy, who is starving and without adequate clothing, begging at the American Shopping Center. The soldier ends up buying the boy an entire new outfit, despite learning that the boy has been receiving handouts from all of the other se ntimental soldiers. His of Occupation even, having discarded him, and the soldier, who had known only leaning Negro shacks, become the provider, the protector at l ast, the dispenser of white skinned home, I never had much occasion to do for other people, so I was glad to have had this short story, Boyle immediately sets up a
179 framework in which a kind of global kinship might be imagined: American consumer excess and German wartime scarcity, paired with American benevolence and German hat the global construct of nd the director of the same part of town that white Americanism. In the comparative context of regional mode rnism, these stories reveal a kind of uneven development in the distribution of these terms. Pinky in Persia the plot lines center on an American family relocating to Iran for what is Pinky in Persia starts from a biographical context and opens toward a political horizon. In 1961, Francke nstein was rehired by the State Department and posted to Iran with the assignment of running the American center. In this capacity, he taught adult education classes in addition to overseeing the daily operations of the center. However, he was also requi red to participate in the United States Information Agency policy of attempting to convince local intellectuals about the problems of communism and the failures of the
18 0 Soviet Union (Mellen 422). Uncomfortable with this Cold War foreign policy, Franckenste his failing health required that he leave his post, by all indications she shared his political sentiments. In the 1970s, Boyle worked on behalf of political prisoners as a member of the Committee for Intellectual and Artistic Freedom in Iran (Spanier 200). In 1977, for example, she wrote an open letter to the Shah of Iran demanding the restoratio while the Franckenstein Boyle household did in fact have a pet cat named Pinky during their Tehran posting, there is likely a political significance to Pinky in Persia that is differen coincidental that a woman who was accused of communist sympathies and investigated by HUAC would named cat in Iran following American support of the 1953 Iranian coup and during a period in which 1 1 Melani McAlister offers a much more comprehensive history of the 1953 Iranian coup and U.S. economic i based oil companies would, as much as possible, obtain access to oil and other strategic raw materials through concessions negotiated in conjunction with the main colonial power in the region, Britain. In the immed iate postwar period, for example, the US intervened numerous times in the Middle East to support pro Western governments, prevent the rise of Agen cy (CIA) secured the northern border of the new American frontier by h elping to overthrow Mohammed Mo sad d egh, the elected but nationalist minded leader of Iran, when he tried to nationalize Iranian oil. As with other globalizing industries, including fi lm, US based oil corporations presented
181 To a certain degree, the narrative is a continua for napping in inopportune places. 2 souvenir parasols, Pinky is snatched up by two giant birds who think that the cat would be a nice meal for their hatchlings. The remain Pinky trying to navigate his Persian environs and return to his American family. From difference as this book demystifies Iran for her American audience. The children learn about the different landscape and vegetation because of Pinky. Their mother must give them a brief geography lesson when the children are disappointed to find that catnip trees are nowhere to be found in their lu sh garden, only native fruit trees and melon vines. She follows this conversation with what is presumably the start of a history Although the mother does not make this distinction explicit in her lessons, it is interesting that Boyle acknowledges a distinction between a historical and cultural Persia and the political and national context of Iran. Moreover, it is notable that with the f mention of Iran, for the remainder of the story Boyle While on the surface the book is an anthropomorphic adventure tale, Pinky in Persia can also be read as a political allegory in which Boyle deconstructs nationalism 2 Pinky in Persia is in fact the second of a two book series. In the first, Pinky the Cat Who Liked to Sleep (1966), Pink y is accidentally carried away from his middle class home when he falls asleep on a bed of a shopkeeper, a single parent family, a boatyard operator, a n old woman, and a zookeeper, sleeping interacts with people in their community they otherwise would have paid no attention to: the family not only visi Pinky, therefore, becomes more or less an agent of class consciousness and community solidarity.
182 and globalization by challenging questions of democracy and foreign policy as it relates American exceptionalism which disproportionately privilege American culture and U.S. interests. In this case, we can read Pinky in Persia as challenging what Melani assumption that all people were capable of civilization and should thus have the cultural We learn that Pinky is a linguist: he understands his human family, and he can speak the languages of all the other animals. But more than being able to simply communic ate with animals, Pinky is also a crafty wordsmith. To escape both the nest of the lizard, which both distracts his captors from potentially eating him and makes Pinky something of an amusing acquaintance. In fact, Pinky only chooses to fight in a moment of self defense when his language skills fail him. This is the case with the g iant bat. Not only does that animal lie to Pinky, originally telling the cat that he will fly him to the American family; the bat also threatens physical harm to Pinky, truthfully saying that een ones. It is in this rational and reactive: he only begins to fight back w hen it becomes clear that the bat is going to violate his initial offer. Although Boyle seems to be blind to specific issues of
183 stationing, she importantly critiques what E ideology of liberal Pinky in Persia instead privileges culture, broa dly stated, over economic interests, political alliances, or military force. modernism: the modernist. As if she could separate these identities, it should be clear that her modernist theory and practice was formed in relation to her personal experiences of marriage, family, domesticity, and gendered divisions of labor. By way of conclusion, than his. In 1963, he is historicizing a cultural movement that he has already declared finished. In foreclosure in this cultural turn toward the politics of late modernism: the continued obfuscation of gender, vernacular culture, and the domestic in the theory and practice of high moderni sm; and the more quotidian celebration of previously gendered ideas like the local, the family, and domestic culture as ideologically important to the aesthetic and political culture of the Cold War. Put differently, Boyle counteracts the cultural logic of this historical moment by making the home front, domesticity, and the family not spaces of ideological containment but rather spaces of radical democratic possibility. She not only contextualizes the Cold War in ways relatable to her middlebrow America n audience,
184 she crafts her deeply political narratives in such a way as to emotionally and intellectually invest her readers in conversations they otherwise might not have considered (Klein 7). As a figure who intervenes in the politics of late modernism, her political utopian desire for democracy (American citizenship, internationalism, mod ernism) with regional modernism possible.
185 CHAPTER 6 DOMESTIC BATTLES & G LOBAL TRAVESL: MARIO THE MAGIC OF AMERICA AND THE POLITICS OF REGIONAL MODER NISM intervention of regional modernism in the politics of late modernism. By periodizing the cultural work of Mahony Griffin, we can see the way in which her belief in democra cy and the way in which architecture might extend democratic living to the masses shifts to an exercise in regional modernism with her 1949 text The Magic of America in which she both comparatively reads American regional planning and Australian town plan ning we take late modernism as being a cultural movement that accounts for the persistence of modernist theory and practice following the Second World War, one that s pecifically acknowledges the history of transnational developments within modernism, we can read The Magic of America as being an artifact of late modernism at the same time that it is a historical intervention into the modernist potential for democratic architecture and domestic housing. the start of the twentieth century the belief that domestic housing is an intermediary in democratic processes develop into a po stwar manifesto for the ways in which local interests must be reprioritized in a global context and the ways in which the interests of democratic nations must be approached relationally. As a corrective to the politics of late modernism, The Magic of Amer ica simultaneously argues for national political decentralization and the construction of globalized economic policy, repurposing her prewar modernism as a counter politics to the hegemonic global policies of the American Century. In this framework of reg ional modernism, Mahony Griffin writes an
186 architectural history that makes an explicit connection between vernacular and international modernisms and the competing pressures of top down capitalism and bottom up regional planning. On the other hand, we can read Mahony Griffin as a case study that marks the limits of regional modernism as a vanishing mediator in the transition between modernist and late modernist modalities: her focus on the politics of regional modernism particularly with regard to issues o f class, gender, and environmentalism differentiate her from the unpolitical stylizations of her more formalist contemporaries. But to read The Magic of America as a vanishing mediator her ra dical hopefulness for an American modeled globalism as naively complicit in the politics of global Americanization. My argument, therefore, is two fold. What I first want to establish is the feminist work that this text does: in this period of late mode rnism, The Magic of America underlines the importance not only of recognizing women in the production of architecture but also in acknowledging the way in which the modernist rhetoric of democratic archite cture in this post war moment is being eclipsed by t he growing connection between modernist style and consumer culture. This is particularly noteworthy in the case of Mahony Griffin not only because she was the second woman to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology architecture program and the first woman to be officially licensed as an architect in America. In a professional context, despite the fact that women in architecture were viewed with suspicion (if not contempt), Mahony Griffin collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burl ey Griffin, and maintained a good working reputation with the majority of Chicago School
187 architects. Importantly, she also introduced her colleagues to labor reformers, suffragists, civic activists, and socially prominent liberal clubwomen. This activist network became a consistent source of clients for Wright and Burley Griffin, and in turn influenced their architectural theory and practice through progressive politics and social reform initiatives. 1 My second claim, then, is that in this historical con text, Mahony 2 Instead, by way of The Magic of America she confronts the shifting global market in the practices and ideologies that fu el architecture democratic policies, regional modernism, and the American Century. Modernism by Chicago Design cago studios of Dwight Perkins and Frank Lloyd Wright, her design of buildings, furniture, and decorative panels ortune and fame in Europe) a lineage that extended from her mentors Louis Sullivan and Wright to he r husband and 1 50. 2 Politics of Late Modernism/Modernity 16.4 (2009): 767 795.
188 e the Chicago School was a pocket of nativist American modernism, pairing an attention to midwestern American modernity and the transformative function of built form, we can likewise read architecture that argued against a prescriptive international style in favor of local and national differences; and she worked toward a modernist archi tecture that argued against an industrial modernity and its mass produced architecture in favor of craftsmanship and buildings designed in relation to their landscape. typicall from its building of middle class housing, to its design of authority meant independence from prescribed architectural style or the promotion of individual 1913 articl becomes independence of thought in the face of, among other constraints, stylistic conventions, ar
189 first two decades of the twentieth century to the extent that she not only actively thinks of democracy in terms of the political pr inciple of majority rule but also makes her praxis one of middle class representation beyond the inclusive interests of bourgeois men with the height of Chicago progress ivism, the fact that the prairie house buyers were typically upper middle class lays bare the social contradictions implicit in the Prairie described radical cause. As Richard Twombly po house appealed to an apprehensive upper middle class by emphasizing in literal and symbolic ways the security, shelter, privacy, family mutuality and other values it found increasingly important 59). Without pandering to middle class wives with architectural advertisements in relevant to women: among others, gendered political reform, economic equity, and education policy. Put simply, Mahony Griffin radicalizes the Chicago Group concept of worse stolen by their male colleagues; and o n a social level, that the boom in domestic architecture takes for granted gendered concerns in housing. That is to say, Mahony Griffin differentiates
190 Chicago Group w ith both a political agenda of democratic reform and literal plans for domestic architecture. Building magazine, Mahony Griffin makes the gender politics of the architectural s tudio and the problems of family housing two sides of the same coin. In the first article of this series, Mahony Griffin describes her design process, emphasizing her collaborative process with the owners of the designed house, encouraging them to express their needs, wants, and tastes, and with her studio colleagues, encouraging mutuality in the sharing of designs and architectural solutions. However, she implies that being a woman architect limits her participation in this so called democratic exchange of ideas. taking credit for all of the designs produced in his studio and most frequently hers. Moving from the personal slights she feels in her work (although she o nce more Griffin transitions from the gendered limitations of her profession to the possibilities for atic Architecture forces are rapidly being filled in the political field, and even along ethical, domestic and social lines, and in a time when in the economic field also these forces must soon form building practices of a democratic architecture with democratic social movements class conscious economic policies, environmentalism, and gender reforms put various stresses on her modern architecture. Put boldly, she makes the middle class domestic
191 architecture of the Chicago School more radically democratic. Meaning, instead of city man going to the Mahony Griffin argues for a democratic architecture that puts in dialectical tension social relations and built environments and that transforms daily l iving beyond bourgeois 86). She specifically challenges the idea that domestic architecture, a s practiced in contradictions of the time for a certain segment of middle e must necessarily reconsider the relationship of interiority and exteriority thus broadening the discipline to include conscientious considerations of landscape architecture (lot orientation, conservationism, and the social metabolism of nature and buildi ng) and the architectonics of private life (the physical setting of the home, the social network of family relations, the routines of the household, and the habits of the body). Corbusier and International Style. Beginning with his 1931 Kahn Lecture at Princeton University and extending through The Disappearing City (1932), When Democracy Builds (1945) and The Living City (1958), Wright becomes concerned with ruralism, decentralization, and organic architecture in the service of a distinctly American democratic style of architecture
192 archit The Living City 92) It is in this period of late modernism, two decades after Mahony Griffin makes her argument for the democratic importance of domestic architecture, that Wright even acknowledges that the mod basic structure an individual The Living City 78). It is worth pointing out, however, that beyond pointing to the family home as not speak to the necessary social functions that would in fact build democracy. To further illustrate this difference between Mahony Griffin and her Chicago cohort and particul arly her prime target Wright in summarizing the importance of the a conversation that she has with a friend who has encountered the limitations of such housing for mid dle class women, the supposed benefactors of this modern architecture. Her friend alludes to the fact that, rather than improving standards of living, these political spaces of the architectural studio and the household. But unlike Wright who never substantiated his broad claims for the democracy of his domestic architecture in writing or built form, Mahony Griffin offers at least two subsequent examples of ways in which family housing and architecture itself might be modernized with respect to the spatial and the
193 for the broadening of architecture to allow for the direct participation of women. 3 In this rchitectural training, the expansion of labor irrespective of gender, and a reprioritization of equity in community planning. If these three elements are addressed indeed, modernized Mahony Griffin argues that a democratization of both daily living and so cial relationships correlation between the individualism popular with the Chicago Group and her prioritization of democratic practice. Put differently, Mahony Griffin summari zes her you must consider it as an element in a community to be considered in connection with Daily Telegraph in covering the lecture suggests, that Lone Hand she further elaborates on he boldly making the case for a feminist intervention in architectural modernism. This time, she calls for the acknowledgment of gender equity in architecture, especially as it relates to domestic funct ions and home economics: Only women who know how much work is increased by a badly planned kitchen are likely to believe how necessary it is for an architect to make allowances for the admission of labor saving appliances all through a house. A woman who did not know much about housework would make no better, and probably no worse, a planner of houses than a man, but a woman who knows what women have to put up with and who has the technical knowledge to alter certain things, should be capable of designing comfortable homes. (43) 3 This speech Daily Telegraph (12 October 1915): 9.
194 gendered lines: she not only restates her position from the Australian National Council of Women lecture that women need to be educated as archite cts; she also insists that all women be recognized as more successful managers (if not more capable designers) politics of domestic architecture, Mahony Griffin quite literal ly begins thinking through the relationships of gender, class, and architecture and in so doing, she begins to develop an ecology of architectural form, environmental concerns, and gendered divisions of labor. Toward a Politics of Regional Modernism By the Between 1938 and 1949, she compiled and wrote The Magic of America a text that is simultaneously an arc hitectural history, an aesthetic politics, a domestic narrative, and a memoir. This text is divided into four sections indeed, four battles. The first section, and his une xpected death in India, where he designed the United Provinces Industrial and Agricultural Exposition, the Lucknow University Library, and the Pioneer Press Office Municipal nationally funded design for the new federal capital at Canberra and a regionalist plan Individua their biographies, their courtship, their architectural theories, and their political stances.
195 s of architectural modernism with critical issues of regionalism. In this framework, we can read Mahony Griffin as making their partnership and their architectural practice or their regional modernism expressly political: rejecting nationalist imperialism (constructing 1937 work in India as participating in anti imperialist democratic obstruction to the implementation of the Canberra plan and the sexism th at Mahony with the progressive cultural life of the Castlecrag community and the way in which its design benefits local communities, family, and women). In turn, this regional modernism forms the basic structure of The Magic of America. The movement of the sections writes an architect ural history that makes an explicit connection between vernacular and international modernisms and argues for a mediation between global capitalism and town planning. a as the editors of Building had described her 1914 articles than cultivating democratic practices that, following the framework of The Magic of America, extend from international to individual levels (88). As Mahony Griffin re marks on the topic of modern architecture, creative thinking in revolutionary (IV.38).
196 This relation of parts to whole becomes crucial to thinking through the continu modernism. If her modernism, which develops by way of her association with the democracy, her architecture is part of a plan to build global democracies on an American model. Thus, moving between decolonization efforts, postwar reconstruction, and economic reform; federal contracting, town planning, and environmental conservation; domestic housing, education policies, and gen dered divisions of labor. Particularly important to this development of regional modernism is Mahony The Magic of America she makes reference to the nascent modernism of th is midwestern architectural school. And in the last three volumes of her manuscript Mahony Griffin specifically situates Prairie School architecture as a point of reference for the architectural work. More to the point, she constructs a comparative framework in which regional schools and international modernisms might be read as mutually constitutive. egional modernism diverges in significant ways from contemporary Griffin scholarship. If scholars concede that Chicago School, and the specific lineage of Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and
197 because her lens of Chicago progressivism was too exclusionary in its regionalization of international modernism; her spirituali sm and its influence on her architectural ornamentation make her in some way anti modern; or that her alignment was more bohemian than radical, avant garde because the political project for the Canberra Federal Plan failed to be built. 4 not to design their United P rovinces Exposition in Lucknow; but the emphasis on regionalism within Chicago modernism becomes a model for resisting modernism as a centralized movement. For Mahony Griffin, the development of a regional modernism for India a cultural movement that resi sts the standardization of a European modernism at the same time that it actively promotes local color in architectural design is possible and spiritual qualities Because Chicago modernism primar ily turned on revolutions in domestic explicitly returned to their midwestern suburbs as a model for democratic development. 4 Marion Mahony
198 R ock Glen subdivision becomes the architecture by thinking through the problems of family housing in relation to landscape architecture, communal property, environmental conservation, technological advancements, and local color. There are several characteristics that distinguish the Rock Glen from, landscape architecture, both in terms of the orientation of individual houses on their respective lots and the arrangement of the houses within a larger subdivision organization. Rock Crest Rock Glen was planned to conserve t he natural area of Willow Creek. For the 18 acre subdivision, built on a former quarry site, Burley Griffin retained trees already in addition to adding many native plants; and he created internal reserves by covenants on title to prohibit buildings at th e rear of each lot (Harrison 23). As Peter Harrison points out, specifically beginning with Rock Crest Rock Glen development, the combination of architecture and landscape as complementary disciplines directed towards the creation of a coherent scheme for community living The next distinctions turn on the way in which the individual houses of the subdivision relate to the stylistic conventions of Prairie School architec ture. The looked as if they naturally grew from the site. All houses were designed to face the glen, with each house incorporating the natural backdrop as its primar y view. In
199 newer suburban notions that home life was not to be intruded upon, that it was separate form though not totally withdrawn from the rest of the community, and that contact with the outside world ys designed the family home class suburban counter to urban environments and mass corporate cultur e and their vertical laced public rooms across the design gave the middle class family homes a sense of spaciousness and a feeling that their economical home was a much grander residence. It also made the common areas within the house the living quarters the privileged spaces of the house. e domestic home as an environment for education and activism within the family and the larger community. In Rock Crest Rock Glen subdivision in theory and in practice r econceptualize domestic
200 architecture, domesticity, and the family unit to include larger social and political issues the landscape of the Midwest, spirituality, domesti From this midwestern model, Mahony Griffin elaborates not only that domestic architecture is the basis of democratic architecture, but also that the Rock Crest Rock Glen subdivision likewise becomes a model for postwar democ racy: in India, this Iowan design becomes a framework for the ways in which family homes can improve social conditions and promote decolonization; and in Australia, this Iowan design becomes the starting point for progressive town planning. For example, i Mahony Griffin contextualizes the failure of the federal planning project in terms of their American successes. Following her account about the parliamentary obstruction that project, she shifts the narrative of The Magic of America from a complaint against the conservative cultural nationalism of the Australian government to a strategy for building demo cracy that circumnavigates government acknowledges the political problem of an Australian paradigm shift from the model of the British Commonwealth to American Democrac y; the cultural problem of translating the project of a nativist American modernism to a country increasingly turning to more conservative European aesthetics; and the social problem of being expatriate modernists isolated from a large enough network of li ke minded friends to actually effect their political and cultural agendas.
201 Liberty, based on an American model of democracy (ii.119). Mahony Griffin suggests that Equity across all divisions of labor without governmental interference modern troubles would begin in the United States and first expand hemispherically to include the Americas and then globally to include other national democracies. In distinct world democraci es just as in theory America is modeled on a federation of T.V.A. supplemented by a M.V.A. and an A.V.A. and a St.L.V.A, we could easily and 5 In this patterning, what started as a problem of political, economic, and cultural conservatism in which Australia resisted the Griffins 5 The Magic of America there are textual notes that suppose the abbreviations for the Valley Authorities refer to the Tennessee Valley Authority and the hy pothetical creation of a Missouri/Mississippi Valley Authority, Arkansas Valley Authority, and St. Louis Valley Authority.
202 regional modernism on a global level. And this pattern of pairing regional modernism follow. To the extent that Mahony Griffin ends her text with a personal biography is significant because she makes a direct connection between democratic architecture and domestic politics on an individualized level. Given this personal turn, we could read detailing their and the way in which their professional relationship was shaped by their cooperative marriage. This is typically how must scholars read The Magic of America : feminist scholars in one corner e traditional historians refuse her aesthetic claims. 6 However, it is more consistent with the history of her in this case the architect becomes the starting point for both democratic design and social practice. A conscious practice of democratic architecture on the part of modern architect would have a direct intervention in more global politics as the connections amon these sections suggest. 6 practice in terms of a femi nist project of reclamation conservative art historians refusing her claims of Lies, and Autobiography: David T. Van Zanten, Paul Kruty, and Paul Sprague.
203 This return to the architect as the engineer of democracy gives a degree of modernist valorization of the architect as the exemplar of American modernity, Mahony Griffin makes her architect an engineer of both material realities and esoteric spiritualism. As Cecelia Tichi has argued, th e engineer was always culturally bound to for over two and a half centuries in the national experience. He promised so it seemed, to lead industrialized America into This development is influence d by the 1929 start of her involvement with Rudolf terms argued for personal discipline and meditative training as a means for transcending the material world. On the rol s possible for us to understand these differences in architectural requirements through a knowledge of the phylogenetic sequence of the creative ethers and so the underlying structure and content of The Magic of Americ a is its mediation of science and technology with spirituality and humanism. According to Mahony Griffin, the tensions produced through the comparative relationships of these categories including evolutionary sciences, cultural anthropology, and theosophy expand her knowledge of
204 daily life and the spiritual world while simultaneously facilitating her intellectual capabilities and architectural imagination. 7 There is a direct correlation between Anthroposophy and the progression of potential for democracy in Australia, a result of the conservative nationalism that contract to build his Ca nberra Capitol Plan, Anthroposophy provided Mahony Griffin a way of reopening the project of democracy on social terms specifically avoiding problems of government and economy. In his 1917 Threefold Social Order Steiner called for a spiritual modernizati on that addresses the problems of modernity by The first is the question of a healthy form of spiritual life within the body social. The second is the consideration of labor, and the right way to incor porate it into the life of the community. Third is the correct deduction living subdivide s three distinct (but mutually invested) realms the spiritual, the political, and the economic. In both theory and practice, in the composition of The Magic of America becomes evi The Magic of America organization that promotes democracy by creating EQUITY among citizens; an 7 For an extended reading of the influence of Anthroposophy on The Magic of America see: James
205 economic organization that promotes FRATERNITY or MUTUALITY in divisions of labor; and a social organization, financed by land taxation, to promote LIBERTY among she suggests that this should become a global model for twentieth century democracy 180). Consistent with her regional modernism that calls for both decentralization and global ism, Mahony Griffin suggests that while each nation will consist of its own political unit, each nation will participate in a federation of economies organized first on a national level, then in regional units, and communities [can become] so flexible as to be able to place large areas of land or large sums of money in the hands of in dividuals of ability to give them control for designing and bringing about planned areas to meet the expanding needs of growing economically conservative: at the same time that she argues for federal subsidies of social programs for education, environmentalism, or housing, she also argues for the work of these projects to have autonomy from political control, i.e. she wants public money for socialized projects that will be enacte d by private interests. she argues for radical global democracy based in large part on the strength of American capitalism I must underline that I am more interested in the thinking t hrough of The Magic of America actually take place. And for me, this turns on her narrowing of democracy to the
206 domestic. By ending The Magic of America broadly and flexibly for modern architecture. 8 She makes domestic architecture consider not only the politics of rse, but rooted the private life of the family, but it also becomes a localized space in the larger social life of a community. In this spatial register, moving back and fo rth between the particular and the general, concepts like education, family, kinship, culture, privacy, implicitly intersects with a larger feminist critique of modern architecture. importantly noted that it was commissions by female clients that made male moderni sts more innovatively approach domestic space based on their more liberal gender politics s of the home Women 1 6). destabilizing a masculinist, if not sexist, architectural tradition. This historical critique 8 Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life although written with a British context, has been invaluable in its description of the relationship between domesticity and modernist space and their mutual influence on twentieth century architecture.
207 ouse is a structural and aesthetic characteristics of architectural modernism globally and codified these formal principles as defining a specific style that w ould encapsulate modern architecture as practiced by specific architects. According to Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson who coined the term in their 1932 treatise The International Style three principles defined this modern architecture: a new conception of architecture as volume rather than mass; regularity rather than axial symmetry as the chief means of ordering design; and the proscription of arbitrary applied decoration (36). For this Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright (35). fragmentary and contradictory like so much of the production of the first generation of Based on these qualifying characteristi cs, Mahony Griffin was peripheral to the International Style movement. In this interwar period, her work was specifically interested in the intersections of domestic architecture, community planning, landscape architecture, environmentalism and conservati onism, anthroposophy, and democratic
208 theory. And whereas International Style architecture valorized the experimentation of individualists, Mahony Griffin remained committed to resolving the problem of individualism communally. To that end, Mahony Griffin seems more allied with architectural theorists and community planners like Lewis Mumford, Catherine Bauer, and Jane Jacobs. Like these contemporaries, she was interested in the way in which architecture intervened in daily life. More specifically, Mahon y Griffin was interested in the dialectical relationship between domestic architecture (family houses, community public education reform, progressive politics). Moreover, she w as interested in the way housing in particular places respond to larger community and social needs. To this degree, all of these figures participate in the developm ent of regional modernisms. But even with these like minded folks, there are crucial distinctions. The most obvious is that Mahony Griffin is the only trained architect. Beyond this professional distinction, however, she is expressly different in that h er interest in community planning and regional development begins at the local level of the family house and extends outward. Thus, she is less inclined to read domestic architecture, community planning, or regional modernism only in terms of urbanism for cities to counter modernist urban renewal projects. In this context, given the 19 49 end date of The Magic of America we can read Mahony Griffin as
209 symposium was imagined as an assessment of mo dern architecture and I nternational S The New Yorker, which critiques I nternational S tyle functionalism, individualism, and global singularity and instead argues for the impor tance of humanism, vernacular modernism, and critical regionalisms. Thus this symposium is important because it problematizes the dogmatism of the International Style movement. Moreover, the symposium is significant because it never comes to a consensus architectural theorists in favor of international modernism and regional modernism, there is also disagreement within these respective camps about what precisely constitutes The argument can be broadly framed in terms of a disagreement between Lewis Mumford and the MoMA Directors of Architecture and Design specifically Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Hitchcock, and Johnson on the state of modern architecture in relation to the needs of postwar society. But as The Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art suggests, spoke in terms of style and standards, and th the continued relevance of an International Style on the grounds of architectural e are on the side of architecture as an art rather than on the side of mere building, however structurally efficient, commercially successful, sentimentally effective, humanistically plausible, or domestically agreeable
210 In contrast, Mumford restates his position from his Style and calls for a new style of architecture that reconsiders architectural functionalism, and the postwar dev architecture which came into exist ence with our growth and which is so native that Mumford, modern architecture that designs in accordance with local needs is a sample of a more relevant internationali sm. To both Mumford and the MoMA Directors of Architecture and Design, Mahony approach to architecture. Not only are there no women included in this symposium disc ussion, but questions of the domestic function of houses or division of labor in homes are eclipsed by debates over Bay School Regionalism versus International Style, and cottage homes versus machine art. Although she would be arguably more sympathetic to Mahony Griffin makes clear in The Magic of America the political function of modern architecture: to design built environments that both meet the material, social, and spiritual needs of its communities and actively promote global democracy. Meaning While he critiques the political conservatism and aesthetic formalisms of his MoMA counterparts, he neverthe less replaces one style (International Style) with another (Bay
211 School Regionalism). For Mahony Griffin, it is not enough to say that in this postwar moment localisms become internationalisms. This is the point at which we must differentiate Mahony Grif fin from Mumford, in terms of both historical alignment and architectural theory and practice. What Mahony efforts might be read as participating in something more presc ient than, say, formalisms, aesthetics, or middle class domesticity not to mention the implicit sexism in both poles of this debate. She also requires that domestic architecture and family modern accent is on his qualification that vernacular modernism primarily differentiates American national culture, leaves him as a significant prewar figure. That is to say, he remains a prewar fellow of Van Wyck Brooks and Randolph Bourne, who stressed that the distance between urban centers and their regional peripheries pr oduced a distinctive modern cultural nationalism, rather than a postwar figure who deals more critically with the way in which regional or vernacular culture might critically intervene in the ideologies of modernism or the politics of globalization. For t hese reasons and for her insistence on 1930s Castlecra g suburb as a model for a new civilization, Mahony Griffin appropriately levels a three part attack on modern architecture. She begins by positioning the International
212 e starting point for democratic architecture and by extension world democracy, she quips: international style. They have failed to learn that when anything can be iden tified as style dwelling exists the microcosm of this new social democratic order. S he writes that a dwelling is the most important unit in a human community. It is the most complicated problem, the one most difficult to solve in the profession of architecture. The range of its possibilities is endless. Other buildings are but inciden a way the health of the community rests on the perfection of the single cell as it does in the body. (iii.11) Magic in the context of the earlier text Mahony Griffin also recontextualizes her project for a sustainable democratic domestic architecture. For her, there becomes a direct correlation between economic security (or rivalry) and environmental conservation (or the extermination of n ature). The world must acknowledge that architecture is quotidian to the extent that it is built by the average man for the daily social welfare of the masses and that the concrete reality of architecture has huge political and social consequences. For e xample, architecture must necessarily respond to problems of ecology, materialism, and feminism. continent to the tiniest unit, a single home in relation to its neigh
213 beginning with archival submission of The Magic of America to the Art Institute of Chica go and the New York Historical Society in addition to her numerous architectural designs and drawing, we can see a radically different plan for postwar life. It is important to my narrative, modernism was only a theoretical alternative. Not only was The Magic of America never published, her attempts to put into practice the tenets of her regional modernism for planning projects l Crystal Rosary Crystal (1945), and the Chicagoland Prize Home Competition (1945) were never completed. The Magic of America then, is important for us because it shows how regionalism generally and the American Midwest specifically could have functioned differently in a global American context at the very best in terms of the political viability of regional culture at the very least in terms of domestic relationships. Put differently, in the American Century, however fraught the concept of domesticity b ecomes, the home front becomes the space of democratic potential. This is a crucial point, especially in this postwar moment of American Cold War politics and cultural late modernism. In this historical moment, for Mahony Griffin, like all of the figure of art, architecture, and culture from the political and the social. In contrast, regional modernism func tions as a kind of oppositional cultural politics to late modernism, and especially to the kind of conservative aesthetic formalism offered by the proponents of
214 I nternational S tyle architecture. Regional modernism locates a critical conjuncture between re gionalism and globalization in the American Century. While Mahony Griffin theorizes the potential of regional modernism, in her own time we can see the beginning of political, economic, social, and cultural developments in which the region, regionalism, or regionalization are put in the service of American exceptionalism, postwar globalization, and neoliberalism. No longer tied to a political modernism, regional modernism instead opens toward the politics of late modernism. Gone is the idea that regiona l modernism might re start modernism, its comparative culture concept, or its collectivist politics. Instead, whatever potential might have existed with regional modernism, specifically a regional framework for the American Century, is instead repurposed
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226 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Christina Van H outen earned a Bachelor of Arts from Stetson University in 2005. She earned a Masters of Arts in English from the University of Florida in 2007 and a Doctor of Philosophy in English from the University of Florida in 2012. While a PhD student at the Unive rsity of Florida, she was the recipient of the prestigious Alumni Fellowship and was a finalist for the Madelyn Lockhart Dissertation Fellowship. She has articles forthcoming in Poli tics and Culture and Women s Studies She has accepted a position as a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the Georgia Institute 2012.