chapter  2
22 Pages

The Literary Context

The dominance ofhigh modernist criticism and the omission of women from modernist histories have tended .to perpetuate a conceptual binary opposition between experiment and women's poetry. If all modem poetry is a reaction against the 'genteel' tradition and 'genteel' is associated with the feminine, there is a need to contest that association: the dominance of formal experiment has been exaggerated and many women became significant producers and promoters of new writing. There was a complex nexus of a predominantly male conservative literary establishment and the cultural changes which created both obstacles and new opportunities for women's personal and professional lives.