Positioned at a crossroads between feminist geographies and modernist studies, Excursions into Modernism considers transnational modernist fiction in tandem with more rarely explored travel narratives by women of the period who felt increasingly free to journey abroad and redefine themselves through travel. In an era when Western artists, writers, and musicians sought ‘primitive’ ideas for artistic renewal, Joyce E. Kelley locates a key similarity between fiction and travel writing in the way women authors use foreign experiences to inspire innovations with written expression and self-articulation. She focuses on the pairing of outward journeys with more inward, introspective ones made possible through reconceptualizing and mobilizing elements of women’s traditional corporeal and domestic geographies: the skin, the ill body, the womb, and the piano. In texts ranging from Jean Rhys’s Voyage in the Dark to Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out and from Evelyn Scott’s Escapade to Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage, Kelley explores how interactions between geographic movement, identity formation, and imaginative excursions produce modernist experimentation. Drawing on fascinating supplementary and archival materials such as letters, diaries, newspaper articles, photographs, and unpublished drafts, Kelley’s book cuts across national and geographic borders to offer rich and often revisionary interpretations of both canonical and lesser-known works.
Excursions into Modernism Women Writers, Travel, and the Body