Hollis, Erin Michelle (2005-08). Textual collisions: the writing process and the Modernist experiment. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation explores textual junctures such as this in the compositional processes of James Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy and Ezra Pound that illuminate how these modernists negotiated the fraught position of being an author in the early twentieth century. This approach marks a departure from conventional textual criticism as I look at the intersections between textual criticism and literary theory, demonstrating the effects different theories can have on our understanding of textual criticism. Recent innovations in textual scholarship influenced by poststructuralist theorists allow me to uncover and describe the extent to which each of these four authors construct a self-conscious version of authorship in relation to their larger Modernist aims. This examination reveals how Joyce, Barnes, Loy, and Pound were subject to numerous outside influences, personal insecurities and preoccupations throughout the writing process, indicating their desires to both manipulate and participate in the modernist project of innovation and experimentation. The first chapter addresses the evolution of Joyce??s pre-writing, drafting and revising processes as a form of textual gossip. Joyce excised material from much of his early writing, controlling his work as a gossiper controls rumors. As he becameincreasingly more inclusive in his writing process, he also reflected a more positive regard for gossip as a similarly inclusive process. The second chapter examines the revision and editing of Ryder, Nightwood, and The Antiphon. Barnes increasingly sought legitimacy for her work by subjecting it to the conventionalizing editing of T.S. Eliot and Emily Holmes Coleman. In the third chapter, I interrogate Pound??s poetic practices and his status as an expatriate in order to reveal how Pound felt as an exile to his own writing. The fourth chapter analyzes Loy??s marginal status in the modernist canon, arguing that she created a persona through her public presentation of herself in her poems that is responsible for her constant and perpetual rediscovery.

publication date

  • May 2003