Between Worlds

BookBetween Worlds

Between Worlds

Mina Loy’s Aesthetic Itineraries

Clemson University Press: Seminal Modernisms


June 1st, 2022





This book provides a new critical reappraisal of the work of modernist writer and artist Mina Loy. Primarily known for her daring and difficult poems, Loy was also the author of a dazzling variety of other literary and visual artworks in different genres and media. My reading demonstrates the richness and complexity of her work beyond the more often-explored path from Futurism to Dada to Surrealism, emphasizing the importance of her perpetual travel between disparate aesthetics. Engaging in a close analysis of her poetry, essays, manifestoes, and novel Insel, I unearth a multiplicity of hidden literary and pictorial intertexts in her works. Tracing the origins of Loy’s often puzzling imagery, I examine the complex strategies of collage, condensation, distortion, and displacement through which she conflates multiple allusions in enigmatic constellations. I challenge T.S. Eliot’s claim that Loy lacks an œuvre, claiming that there is an aesthetic project, or at least a paradoxical unity in her famously fragmented work. I show how her writings critically engage with the turbulence of avant-garde innovation of her time, pinpointing the essential ephemerality of the avant-gardes and their tendency to become dogmatic ideologies. Through a perpetual shift of the aesthetic paradigm, Loy’s work creates dialogic exchanges between different experimental aesthetic programs. Thus, the book positions Loy not only as an important artist, but also as a major theorist of modernist and avant-garde aesthetics.

Author Information

Yasna Bozhkova is a Lecturer in the English Department of the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, where she teaches literature, art history, and translation courses. Her research focuses primarily on transatlantic modernism, the literary and artistic avant-gardes, and experimental poetry and poetics. She has a particular interest in figures whose artistic practice spans across a variety of forms and media. Her current research explores intertextual and intermedial strategies across modernist and contemporary poetry.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Part I: The Origins of Loy’s
Aesthetic Project
Chapter 1: Dialectical Constellations in Songs to Joannes
Chapter 2: Decapitating Futurism
Chapter 3: “International Psycho-Democracy” and Utopian
Artistic Community
II: Modernist Beacons
Chapter 4: Towards a Modernist
Chapter 5: “Atlas of an Uncensored Earth”:
Reawakening the Waste Land of Tradition in “Joyce’s Ulysses”
Chapter 6: A
Cosmogony of Modernist Forms: Brancusi, Lewis, Stein, Stravinsky
Chapter 7: “Awander”: Loy, Pascin, and the
Nomadic Self
Part III: Towards a Final
Chapter 8: Insel:
The Isle of the Dead
Chapter 9: Figuring (Co)loss(us)
Chapter 10: “Refusees”: The Bum as the Spectral Double of the Artist in
Loy’s Bowery Work