Modernist Writings and Religio-scientific Discourse: H.D., by L. Vetter

By L. Vetter

Addresses the early twentieth-century intersection of medical and non secular discourse exploring literary modernism in the course of the lens of cultural history, focusing on the works of H.D., Mina Loy, and Jean Toomer. It covers various subject matters such as electromagnetism and sexuality, dance, and theories of religious evolution.

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In his insistence upon the human body as constitutive of the animating force of God—particularly in remarks such as, “God is fire, my soul is fire, nature is fire” (67)—Oetinger flirts with the line between creator and creation, Benz remarks, a position more in line with Eastern rather than Western mysticism (52). Once again, eros and attraction emerge from the margins. Benz argues that these eighteenth-century theologians might be considered the first psychoanalysts in their observation that the “ ‘sensuous soul’ .

D. struggled. , Mina Loy, and Jean Toomer have, despite many mutual friends and acquaintances, only tenuous biographical ties. D. 23 Loy and Toomer never met either, though they were both associated with Mabel Dodge Luhan’s New Mexico salon. Luhan and Loy were close friends, while Luhan, fascinated for a time with Toomer, contributed a substantial amount of money to Gurdjieff at Toomer’s request. D. and Loy among the earliest in the English language; Toomer’s Imagist-inspired poems are scattered throughout Cane.

It is, like Latour’s quasi-objects, “real, quite real,” of nonhuman origin, but also narrated, historical, and cultural “because [it] attach[es] us to one another, because [it] circulate[s] in our hands and 34 ● Modernist Writings and Religio-scientific Discourse define[s] our social bond by [its] very circulation” (89). These hybrid quasiobjects—at once real and mediated—upset modern notions of the order of things in their disruption of scientific categorization. Particularly disruptive is a quasi-object like electromagnetism, circulating within a multiplicity of discourses in a new post-Einsteinian era of ineffability that broke radically with nineteenth-century deterministic science and in a time in which the body is seen as vulnerable to penetration.

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