“The first book to fully explore the Italian context for Loy’s modernism as well as her thinking around questions of sexual and feminist politics.”—Suzanne Hobson, author of Angels of Modernism: Religion, Culture, Aesthetics 1910–1960
“This study will be of critical importance in studies of Mina Loy and, more broadly, in efforts to reconsider and retheorize the historical avant-garde, especially through considerations of gender, cross-arts interactions, and Italian modern culture.”—Linda A. Kinnahan, author of Mina Loy, Twentieth-Century Photography, and Contemporary Women Poets
This book provides a fresh assessment of the works of British-born poet and painter Mina Loy. Laura Scuriatti shows how Loy’s “eccentric” writing and art celebrate ideas and aesthetics central to the modernist movement while simultaneously critiquing them, resulting in a continually self-reflexive and detached stance that Scuriatti terms “critical modernism.”
Drawing on neglected archival material, Scuriatti illuminates the often-overlooked influence of Loy’s time spent amid Italian avant-garde culture. In particular, she considers Loy’s assessment of the nature of genius and sexual identity as defined by philosopher Otto Weininger and in Lacerba, a magazine founded by Futurist leader Giovanni Papini. She also investigates Loy’s reflections on the artistic masterpiece in relation to the world of commodities; explores the dialogic nature of the self in Loy’s autobiographical projects; and shows how Loy used her “eccentric” stance as a political position, especially in her later career in the United States.
Offering new insights into Loy’s feminism and tracing the writer’s lifelong exploration of themes such as authorship, art, identity, genius, and cosmopolitanism, Mina Loy’s Critical Modernism readers to rethink the place, value, and function of key modernist concepts through the critical spaces created by Loy’s texts.
Laura Scuriatti, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Bard College Berlin, is coeditor of The Exhibit in the Text: Museological Practices of Literature.