Hayford Hall: Hangovers, Erotics, and Modernist Aesthetics
- Publish Date: 2005-07-22
- Binding: Hardcover
In this innovative approach to modernist British and American womens literature, essayists focus on Hayford Hall, a remote country estate in Devonshire, England, rented by Peggy Guggenheim and inhabited by a coterie of literary friends in the summers of 1932 and 1933. As a critical treatment of the living and writing that unfolded at the estate, Hayford Hall: Hangovers, Erotics, and Modernist Aesthetics asserts that female modernists who gathered there integrated public art with their private lives, thus making their personal writing works of experimental aesthetics.
Central to the literary discussions, the drinking, and the erotic play that filled the evenings at Hayford Hall were John Holms, Guggenheims British lover; Djuna Barnes, who wrote her masterpiece Nightwood at the estate; Antonia White, British author best known for her convent novel Frost in May; and Emily Coleman, whose novel The Shutter of Snow was based on her own experiences of madness and institutionalization.
Drawing on archival materials to bring crucial sources to a wider audience, the essays, contributed by scholars from Britain, Germany, Canada, and the United States, each add a different perspective on the writers and suggest that a specifically female kind of lived modernism started to emerge at Hayford Hall. They argue that the writers challenged the sexual, textual, and spiritual mores of the day, both in life and on the page.