Two never-before-published novels by Mina Loy, the celebrated modernist poet, artist, and feminist
Mina Loy (1882–1966) is an essential figure of the European and American modernist avant-garde. A groundbreaking writer of poetry, novels, essays, plays, and uncategorizable prose, she was also a fashion and lighting designer and an accomplished visual artist. As gallery agent for figures such as Giorgio de Chirico, Alberto Giacometti, and Salvador Dalí, she was a significant conduit for art that traversed the Atlantic. Loy has been best known for the poetry she published in the little magazines of the late teens and early twenties, most notably the long poem “Songs to Joannes” and the autobiographical verse-epic “Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose.”
Featuring two never-before-published manuscripts of Loy’s autobiographical prose—The Child and the Parent and Islands in the Air—this remarkable book expands Loy’s rich oeuvre. Interlinked texts written over twenty years, from the 1930s to the 1950s, these fascinating works narrate the feminist struggle of the creative spirit as it comes into consciousness and encounters indoctrinating social norms. The works are accompanied by an introduction and afterword by Karla Kelsey that frame Loy as a poet, prose writer, businesswoman, and visual artist and discuss the texts, their stylistic innovations, and their unique interconnectedness.
Mina Loy (1882–1966) was an iconoclastic poet, prose writer, and visual artist. A central figure of the European and American modernist avant-garde, she was radically creative throughout her long life. Karla Kelsey is professor of English and creative writing at Susquehanna University. Her recent books include Transcendental Factory: A Poet’s Novel for Mina Loy and the poetry volumes On Certainty and Blood Feather.
“At once philosophical and lyrical, these novels are a revelation. Their rediscovery confirms Loy as one of the major feminist writers of her time, and a dazzling, neglected novelist of the modernist period.”—Alys Moody, author of The Art of Hunger
“Mina Loy’s writings were animated by a desire to articulate the interior of consciousness through the register of the senses. She understood perception to attach to both the known and unknown, the material world seen often as a veil across an infinite mystery. The familiar dualities of mind and matter, time and space, good and evil, find themselves, in Loy’s rich lexicon and dazzling sentences, under the most prescient and dissolving scrutiny. At once personally intimate and philosophically astute, Loy’s prose has the mesmerizing singularity and wit of her acclaimed poetry. As intoxicating as an essential oil, these unpublished works are a rare and welcome gift to our arid times. ‘The blaze exploded in me. I was riddled with splinters of delight.’”—Ann Lauterbach, author of Door
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