“Imagination of my kind is most caught, most fired, most worked upon by the unfamiliar: I have thriven, accordingly, on the changes and chances, the dislocations and […] the contrasts which have made up so much of my life.” —elizabeth bowen, ‘pictures and conversations’, in the mulberry tree, p.283.
“Still the room kept for her the ghost of its early strangeness; it would never be quite like other rooms - as though coming in for the first time she had anticipated something upon the threshold. But this touch of strangeness upon her nerves was becoming familiar: an isolation from life she felt here bound her up more closely than life itself. She could not have described the room, told where the clock ticked from, what pictures there were, or whether its colours, shapes, textures, had ever displeased or pleased her. There was the sofa, here - for she put things down here - must be the table; there was darkness over the corner with no lamp and a rug slipped under one’s foot by the door. But intense experience interposed like a veil between herself and these objects.” —elizabeth bowen, to the north (1932), p.180.
“It is incredible, and I speak now without irony, that millions of human beings have not yet understood that current demands made by women are simply limited to requiring that a man stop thinking of woman as a colony for him to exploit” —victoria ocampo, ‘woman, her rights and her responsibilities’ (1936), in bonnie kime scott, ed., gender in modernism: new geographies, complex intersections, pp.494-501 (p.495).
“I sometimes wonder whether the act of surrender is not one of the greatest of all - the highest. It is one of the [most] difficult of all. Can it be accomplished or even apprehended except by the aristocrats of this world? You see it’s so immensely complicated. It ‘needs’ real humility and at the same time an absolute belief in one’s own essential freedom. It is an act of faith. At the last moments like all great acts it is pure risk. This is true for me as a human being and as a writer. Dear Heaven how hard it is to let go - to step into the blue. And yet one’s creative life depends on it and one desires to do nothing else.” —Katherine Mansfield 1920 (via katherine-mansfield)
“There is no half-measure, no scratching on the surface of the rubbish heap of tradition. Nothing short of Absolute Demolition will bring about reform. So cease to place your confidence in economic legislation, vice-crusades and uniform education. You are glossing over REALITY.” —mina loy, ‘feminist manifesto’ (1914), in vassiliki kolocotroni, jane goldman & olga taxidou, eds, modernism: an anthology of sources and documents, pp.258-61 (p.259).
“[…] how difficult it is, even for the least prejudiced, to think the feminine past, to escape the images that throng the mind from the centuries of masculine expressiveness on the eternal theme: expressiveness that has so rarely reached beyond the portrayal of women, whether Madonna, Diana, or Helen, in her moments of relationship to the world as it is known to men.” —dorothy richardson, ‘women and the future’, in bonnie kime scott, ed., the gender of modernism, p.411.