chapter
12 Pages

Introduction

The audience effects Gertrude Stein talks about here, the notions that (1) identitywhether personal or artistic-is not essential, but socially constructed (by the audience), and that (2) it operates on the basis of selectivity (‘something is more important than another thing’), constitute major issues for feminism (Hollway, 1992; Rothfield, 1990). This is apparent in the context of modernism, definitions of which have been subject to the scrutiny of feminist critics 1 seeking to reinscribe women into a canon of artistic production which has marginalized all but a select few whose work appears to exhibit certain, specific and specifiable characteristics associated with experiment in language and a heightened (self-)consciousness about the (inner) self and the un/conscious. This selectivity, which has governed definitions of modernism, is exemplified in Peter Faulkner’s book, A Modernist Reader: Modernism in England 1910-1930 (1986) which, despite being published in 1986, 2 at a time when modernism as a concept was already under debate, begins with the following assertions.