Like Lily, I thought I would take this week to write out thoughts and ideas I have collected over the semester. Again and again, I am struck by the roles women played in developing modernist periodicals. Dora Marsden, Harriet Weaver Shaw, HD--all women at the forefront, all contributing to ideas of modernity and progression. Yet despite their time, money, and effort, modernism is still very much a discussion about men. Wyndham Lewis did something unexpected with Blast; Man Ray provoked conversation about what a movie can do to remind its audience that film is a part of art in The Starfish; and Ezra Pound is the man who cannot be forgotten. But what about the women?
The Freewoman, The New Freewoman, and The Egoist were not my most favorite reads--but was Dora Marsden not a pioneer in opening discussion about the new social taboos? If this is to be ignored, then what about Marsden's own contributions to a growing sense of nationalist thought in modernism? Certainly The Egoist--influenced by the all-present Ezra Pound--had a similar desire for or at least relation to British culture that made Blast (published one month after The Egoist) known for its harder stance on modernism.
Should the movies be discounted? By MacPherson and Man Ray's definitions, certainly not. Yet H.D.'s role--like the role of the woman in The Starfish--in Borderline is to be a pale reminder of sexual interest. H.D. plays a woman who is scorned because her husband or partner has lost interest in her; not even her knife choreography is seductively dangerous because she has lost that power. Instead, H.D.'s character is a woman who is emotional--and this characterization of emotional is easily read as having caused her death and having incited something in the townspeople that is then directed at Pete and Adah. Perhaps H.D. had only intended to enjoy the artistic aspect of this role--or perhaps there was something subversive in Adah I cannot see. In any case, the movie left me again wondering what else there was?
In case anyone else feels the same, there are women directors of films. Alice Guy-Blanche was actually the first female director that is known; her work dates to the late nineteenth and early twenthieth centuries. I cannot promise her work is good or worthy because I have not watched it, but it is at least something to watch or consider if, like me, anyone else has found an interest in seeing how women artists both presented themselves and their art in the twentieth century.