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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.66, No.4, 631 ~ 653, 2020
Houses in Motion and Queer Voyagers in the Ordinary: Spatial Ideology of Modernism and Gertrude Stein’s Domestic Space
Tae Yun Lim
The dominant historical conceptions of space during the modernism period were shaped by dichotomous ideological mechanisms, such as the gendered division of Public vs. Private, Center vs. Marginal, Urban vs. Suburban, and Quality vs. Popular culture. The conventional mode of understanding modern space has been thus the ideology of separation and contradictions. Moreover, through the process of accelerated globalization, the idea of modernity became a homogeneous concept and brought about the abstractions of time, space, and social relationships, all of which changed the perceptual meanings of urban and domestic spaces in Europe. However, an understanding of modern spaces in such dichotomous terms may overlook the more complex nature of cultural modernism, the meanings of which are generated by a wide variety of agents and concrete elements in the day-to-day life of modern subjects. Following the theoretical leads of Michel de Certeau, Rita Felski, and Ben Highmore, etc., this paper argues that contemporary avant-gardists such as Gertrude Stein redefined the conventional notion of modernism by emphasizing the interconnected relationship between art and domestic and varying the contents of what is traditionally understood to be “modern.” Through a close-reading of several plays in Stein’s Geography and Plays (1922), this paper examines how Stein intersects gender, sexuality, and spaces to explore the different meanings of the domestic spaces experienced by her queer subjects. I also argue that the concept of modernism and its geographical discourse can be recreated through the struggles of socially marginalized characters and their repetitive negotiations with their surroundings.
Key Words
Gertrude Stein, everyday life, domestic space, modernism, Geography and Plays
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