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Celebrating Recent Work by Victoria Rosner

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

dateSeptember 23, 2020 timeWednesday, 6:15pm EDT locationVirtual Event
  • Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • The Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
Cover of Machines for Living: Modernism and Domestic Life by Victoria Rosner

New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Victoria Rosner

Machines for Living: Modernism and Domestic Life
By: Victoria Rosner

Changes in the routines of domestic life were among the most striking social phenomena of the period between the two World Wars, when the home came into focus as a problem to be solved: re-imagined, streamlined, electrified, and generally cleaned up. Modernist writers understood themselves to be living in an epochal moment when the design and meaning of home life were reconceived. Moving among literature, architecture, design, science, and technology, Machines for Living shows how the modernization of the home led to profound changes in domestic life and relied on a set of emergent concepts, including standardization, scientific method, functionalism, efficiency science, and others, that form the basis of literary modernism and stand at the confluence of modernism and modernity.

Even as modernist writers criticized the expanding reach of modernization into the home, they drew on its conceptual vocabulary to develop both the thematic and formal commitments of literary modernism. Rosner's work develops a new methodology for interdisciplinary modernist studies and shows how the reinvention of domestic life is central to modernist literature.

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About the Author:

Victoria Rosner is Dean of Academic Affairs and Adjunct Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among her publications, she has written Modernism and the Architecture of Private Life, edited The Cambridge Companion to the Bloomsbury Group, and co-edited The Global and the Intimate: Feminism in Our Time, with Geraldine Pratt.

About the Speakers:

Susan Fraiman is Professor of English at the University of Virginia. Her published works include Unbecoming Women: British Women Writers and the Novel of Development, Cool Men and the Second Sex, and, most recently, Extreme Domesticity: A View from the Margins.

Matthew Hart is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He is the author of Nations of Nothing But Poetry: Modernism, Transnationalism, and Synthetic Vernacular Writing, and, most recently, Extraterritorial: A Political Geography of Contemporary Fiction. He is also the current President of the Modernist Studies Association.

Bryony Roberts is an architectural designer and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. She has developed projects as various international sites, including the Federal Plaza in Chicago, the Government Quarter in Oslo, and the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. Her research has been published in Harvard Design Magazine, Log, Future Anterior, and Architectural Record, and she has recently recently edited the book Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation.

Alan Stewart is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Among his publications he has authored The Cradle King: The Life of James VI and I, the First Monarch of a United Great Britain; Shakespeare's Letters; and, most recently, the second volume of The Oxford History of Life-Writing covering the Early Modern period.