Stevie Smith and Authorship

May, W. (2010) Stevie Smith and Authorship , Oxford, UK Oxford University Press 250pp. (Oxford English Monographs).


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This book is a full-length study of the British novelist, poet, and illustrator Stevie Smith (1902-1971). It draws on extensive archival material to offer new insights into her work, challenging conventional readings of her as a dotty eccentric. It reveals the careful control with which she managed her public persona, reassesses her allusive poetry in the light of her own conflicted response to written texts, and traces her simultaneous preoccupation with and fear of her reading public. The book follows her work through draft and proof stages, showing her reluctance to cede editorial control to her publishers, considers how her performances undermine her printed texts, and explores her use of fiction and book reviews as a way of generating contexts for her poetry. It also draws on reader-response theory to re-examine the construction of her literary biography in her novels and essays, recasting her as mastermind, rather than victim, of her own critical reputation. The book is also the first to consider the influence of artists such as George Grosz and Aubrey Beardsley on her apparently artless illustrations, offering readers a fascinating in-depth study that not only radically alters our understanding of Smith and her work, but offers new perspectives on British twentieth-century poetry and its reception.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
ISBNs: 9780199583379 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: reception theory, poetry publishing, literary biography, women’s writing, authorship, illustrations, Stevie Smith, allusion, intertextuality, book history, genetic criticism, performance poetry
ePrint ID: 67574
Date :
Date Event
1 August 2009Submitted
23 July 2010Published
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 21:25
Further Information:Google Scholar

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