Dancing Bodies

  • Alex Goody
Part of the Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics book series (MPCC)


Contemporary dance forms and cultures posed a powerful challenge to rigid and normative constructions of femininity in the early twentieth century. This chapter argues that the core impetus for imagining new, mobile feminine selves was the technology that modernized dancing—the technological stagecraft, lighting displays, machine-tempos of jazz and state-of-the-art dance halls—and the machine-inspired models of subjectivity and the body that influenced iconic dancers such as Isadora Duncan. Exploring their poetry on dance as a modern leisure culture, this chapter examines how Gertrude Stein, H.D., Djuna Barnes, Mina Loy and Marianne Moore present the direct articulation of the gendered self in dance as neither essentially natural nor fundamentally automatic, but as a movement and a becoming that emerges from the productive interface of the embodied subject and spectacular leisure machines of the modern city.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alex Goody
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English and Modern LanguagesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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