“Modernist Posthumanism in Moore, H.D., and Loy”
Mason, Dancy. “Modernist Posthumanism in Moore, H.D., and Loy.” PhD Dissertation, McGill University, Montreal, 2017.
Mason’s dissertation examines how the ‘posthumanist’ writings of Marianne Moore, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), and Mina Loy “expand beyond binary definitions of self [and] interrogate structures of power that perpetuate these definitions” (ii). They also “imagine bodily identities … that resist and fall outside of containing, oppressive forces” (ii). Mason sees in Loy’s poetry the influences of 19th-century spiritualism, Italian Futurism, and, in particular, Christian Science with its views of the body. These movements intertwined scientific discovery with mysticism. They were also a resource for Loy who was coping with grief over the deaths of her husband, son, and one of her daughters—all who met with untimely deaths. Loy conceptualized in her poetry a non-binary kind of embodiment away from body/soul or life/death, to life as beyond the body. The body would become to Loy a kind of ambiguous ghostly myth—neither dead or living, neither present or absent, and more feminine than masculine. Mason sees Loy’s work as “an act of resistant mourning,” or “an attempt to keep the boundary between life and death porous” (134). In Christian Science Loy saw death and the physical as illusory and thereby able to break with biological determinism and personality.
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