Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 201 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Branka Arsic

Committee Members

Eric Keenaghan, Helen Elam


Gender, Modernism, Poetics, Modernism (Literature), Feminism in literature, Sex role

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Reading and Language


My dissertation, "Pragmatism and Democratic Embodiment: The Poetics of Constructive Conflict in Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, and Laura (Riding) Jackson," establishes a methodology based on William James's notion of the subject (1890) as fluid to interrogate how these poets, working roughly between 1860 and 1970, complicated questions of writing in order to critique systems of gender. I reconsider a presumed relation between language and feminism in Modernist Studies that understands the aesthetic practice of unsettling linguistic norms to be counter to feminist concerns relating to the body. Through this reassessment, I argue that the poets anticipated problems associated with categorical systems that underlie second wave feminism and via their critique of systematicity offer a crucial voice for third wave feminism.