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Radiant Bodies and Feminist Laboratories: Jean Rhys, Lee Miller, and the Modern Mannequin

Radiant Bodies and Feminist Laboratories: Jean Rhys, Lee Miller, and the Modern Mannequin <p>abstract:</p><p>The modern mannequin played a singular role in the burgeoning fashion industry of the early twentieth century. Even so, few scholars have sought to recover the mannequin’s voice and story. Working across disciplinary lines, “Radiant Bodies and Feminist Laboratories” pairs Jean Rhys’s fiction with Lee Miller’s photography to chart a feminist path for the mannequin. Each worked as a mannequin in 1920s Paris, and each returned to this formative experience, recasting the mannequin as sentient, watchful, and quietly creative. Each, moreover, imagined her capable of making herself, independent of the demands of designers, employers, and customers. This article argues for the importance of alternative spaces for the feminist imagination—from underground servants’ quarters to cramped, solitary darkrooms—where, unlit and free from the gaze of commerce, the mannequin may reimagine her own form and pursue her own creative desires.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Interdisciplinary Literary Studies Penn State University Press

Radiant Bodies and Feminist Laboratories: Jean Rhys, Lee Miller, and the Modern Mannequin

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
2161-427X

Abstract

<p>abstract:</p><p>The modern mannequin played a singular role in the burgeoning fashion industry of the early twentieth century. Even so, few scholars have sought to recover the mannequin’s voice and story. Working across disciplinary lines, “Radiant Bodies and Feminist Laboratories” pairs Jean Rhys’s fiction with Lee Miller’s photography to chart a feminist path for the mannequin. Each worked as a mannequin in 1920s Paris, and each returned to this formative experience, recasting the mannequin as sentient, watchful, and quietly creative. Each, moreover, imagined her capable of making herself, independent of the demands of designers, employers, and customers. This article argues for the importance of alternative spaces for the feminist imagination—from underground servants’ quarters to cramped, solitary darkrooms—where, unlit and free from the gaze of commerce, the mannequin may reimagine her own form and pursue her own creative desires.</p>

Journal

Interdisciplinary Literary StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Mar 2, 2022

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