From Coco Chanel and the impact of the little black dress on modernism, to re-readings of Henry James, the inventions and poetry of Mina Loy, photographs of Hans Bellmer's sex doll, and why playing cards is not the same thing as thinking, Jessica Burstein's account of modernism seeks to recenter the field and awaken us to the aesthetic virtues of taking surface appearance seriously. Central to her analysis is the important premise that our current understanding of modernism is fundamentally incomplete.
Jessica Burstein is Associate Professor of English at the UW. She works on modernism, the avant-garde, fashion, and technophilia—particularly prosthetics. Her area of expertise is British literature from the late 19th century through the 1930s, and its West European contexts. She has published on subjects such as Dorothy Parker, Wyndham Lewis, and crowds. She has served as acting editor of Modern Language Quarterly, and is a member of the editorial committee of Modernism/modernity. Her book, Cold Modernism: Literature, Fashion, Art, was published by Penn State University Press in 2012.