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Labor & Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America

Labor & Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America

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Key Metrics

  • Paula Rabinowitz
  • University of North Carolina Press
  • Paperback
  • 9780807843321
  • 8.96 X 5.86 X 0.66 inches
  • 0.79 pounds
  • Literary Criticism > Women Authors
  • English
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Book Description

This critical, historical, and theoretical study looks at a little-known group of novels written during the 1930s by women who were literary radicals. Arguing that class consciousness was figured through metaphors of gender, Paula Rabinowitz challenges the conventional wisdom that feminism as a discourse disappeared during the decade. She focuses on the ways in which sexuality and maternity reconstruct the classic proletarian novel to speak about both the working-class woman and the radical female intellectual.

Two well-known novels bracket this study: Agnes Smedley's Daughters of Earth (1929) and Mary McCarthy's The Company She Keeps (1942). In all, Rabinowitz surveys more than forty novels of the period, many largely forgotten. Discussing these novels in the contexts of literary radicalism and of women's literary tradition, she reads them as both cultural history and cultural theory. Through a consideration of the novels as a genre, Rabinowitz is able to theorize about the interrelationship of class and gender in American culture.

Rabinowitz shows that these novels, generally dismissed as marginal by scholars of the literary and political cultures of the 1930s, are in fact integral to the study of American fiction produced during the decade. Relying on recent feminist scholarship, she reformulates the history of literary radicalism to demonstrate the significance of these women writers and to provide a deeper understanding of their work for twentieth-century American cultural studies in general.

Labor & Desire: Women's Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America

Author Bio

Paula Rabinowitz's research and teaching are in the areas of American materialist feminist cultural studies. Her work considers the interlocking roles of cinema, photography, painting and material culture in and through twentieth-century literature. 

She focuses on contemporary and modernist American women’s art and literature; her work explores hidden histories within working-class, pulp and popular cultures. Her books include LABOR AND DESIRE: WOMEN'S REVOLUTIONARY FICTION IN DEPRESSION AMERICA; THEY MUST BE REPRESENTED: THE POLITICS OF DOCUMENTARY; BLACK & WHITE & NOIR: AMERICA'S PULP MODERNISM; and AMERICAN PULP: HOW PAPERBACKS BROUGHT MODERNISM TO MAIN STREET, which won the 2015 DeLong Prize for Book History Book from Society for the History of Authorship, Readers and Publishing (SHARP). 

She is co-editor with Cristina Giorcelli of HABITS OF BEING, a four-volume series of essay on clothing, fashion, dress and identity; and co-editor, with Ruth Barraclough and Heather Bowen-Stryuk of RED LOVE ACROSS THE PACIFIC: POLITICAL AND SEXUAL REVOLUTIONS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. She has also co-curated gallery exhibits on women and pulp fiction, women’s sound installation art and feminist film. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LITERATURE.

 

Research Interests 

American women, minority, and working-class writers
Visual culture
film, photography, media
US literary radicalism
Marxist and feminist theories
Modernisms
Cultural studies
American Studies

 

Education 

  • Ph.D.: American Culture, University of Michigan, , 1986 - none
    M.A.: American Culture, University of Michigan, , 1980 - none
    B.A.: American Studies, Brandeis University, , 1974 - none

 

Source: University of Minnesota 

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