An uncanny vernacular : comparing the radical modernisms of Lorine Niedecker and Lesbia Harford
Vickery, Ann 2009, An uncanny vernacular : comparing the radical modernisms of Lorine Niedecker and Lesbia Harford, Hecate: an interdisciplinary journal of women's liberation, vol. 35, no. 1/2, pp. 77-93.
Hecate: an interdisciplinary journal of women's liberation
Place of publication
St Lucia, Qld.
The article demonstrates the similarity in the ways poets Lesbia Harford and Lorine Niedecker explored radical modernism. It notes the formal and thematic resemblances between the poets' writing and careers. It cites their uncanniness of poetics as an indicator of the effective global dissemination and specific political and aesthetic applications of Marxist ideologies in the early 20th century. The poets' attention to and resistance to the limitations of a gendered agency are also discussed.
This paper considers colonial envy in the work of Australian expatriate artist, Stella Bowen, who is perhaps best known as a long-term partner of writer Ford Madox Ford, and for her paintings of Australian soldiers during World War Two, most notably Bomber Crew (1944). In different ways, Bowen and Ford were highly ambivalent about their outsider/insider status in England, Ford coining the term ‘homo duplex’ to refer to the complexity of identity. Together they would seek to generate a pastoral idyll, a home in which the garden was the dominant ordering mechanism. This yearning for the greenness of the British garden and all it represents can be found in many of Bowen’s paintings. As Sue Thomas has discussed, Bowen would position Jean Rhys as a third term in the colonial equation, representing Rhys as ‘primitive’ to her own ‘provincialism’ which functioned to complicate her sense of belonging. This paper examines how Bowen played upon her own identity of being a bit ‘green’ (in terms of youthful or newly arrived from the colonial ‘suburbs’ (Australia)) in her relationship with Ford and the wider bohemian culture of England and Europe that she entered. It examines how she represented the paradoxic authority and frailty of English whiteness and greenness, particularly in relation to the effects of war and modernist experimentation with primitivism. If time permits, it will then briefly reflect upon how Bowen read national identity during her time as a designated Australian war artist.
Reproduced with the specific permission of the copyright holder.
Field of Research
200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
Socio Economic Objective
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
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