Literary Dimensions Seminar
Abstract: This talk explores the sentimental underpinnings of scientific models of modern selfhood across a century: from interwar fiction and cultural icons to contemporary affect studies. It does so via a case study of the flapper and Anita Loos's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1926). Loos's vexed manifesto of modern white, female self-making exposes the sentimentality of modernist hallmarks including irony, satire, stream-of-consciousness narration, and dialectical writing and reveals the sentimentality of enduring investments in scientific approaches to literature. Concluding with a foray into digital text analysis and data visualization, I demonstrate that feminine feeling, far from being peripheral to twentieth-century modernism, animates its principles and preoccupations.
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