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Frustrated Energies in Modernism’s Female Arrangements

Frustrated Energies in Modernism’s Female Arrangements

Chapter:
(p.103) Frustrated Energies in Modernism’s Female Arrangements
Source:
Affective Materialities
Author(s):
Judith Paltin
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813056289.003.0005

Judith Paltin entertains a gendered body that necessarily both succeeds and fails in bodying, creating a non-futurity. For women and racial minorities, modes of bodily recognition (or “arrangements,” as Paltin terms them) have been typically seen as frustrated searches for identity that delimit such figures’ abilities for political and agential change. Yet Paltin turns this notion on its head. Examining works including Jean Rhys’s Good Morning, Midnight and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando for what she calls frustrated affective energies—the mass of feelings that arise from literary encounters with such limited arrangements—Paltin finds that such frustrations actually may offer divergent assemblies, assemblies of bodies that “accommodate their unknown, emergent capacities.”

Keywords:   Gendered body, Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys

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