Chapter 4 Radical Ruralities
This chapter investigates how and why certain Left-leaning women novelists used the conservative setting of the farm as a site for subversive revisionings of gender, class, and race in modern America. It posits that such women were attracted to rurality as a signifying space that points in two directions at once: toward a heightened social orthodoxy that lays bare the injustices that a modern world must rectify, and toward fresh theoretical frameworks that explode social conventions. In particular, this chapter addresses especially the ways that women’s radical rural novels played on the “natural” setting of the farm to retheorize women’s corporeality. It includes substantial close readings of texts by Edith Summers Kelley, Olive Tilford Dargan, and Josephine Johnson.
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