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Rachel Potter

The Salt Companion to Mina Loy

The Salt Companion to Mina Loy


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The Salt Companion to Mina Loy comprises ten essays by leading scholars and writers on the work of modernist poet Mina Loy.

Loy (1882-1966) formed part of the new generation of poets who revolutionised writing in the early twentieth century. She had personal and artistic links to Italian Futurism and Parisian Surrealism, as well as to individuals such as James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, Djuna Barnes and Gertrude Stein. Working with reference to, but also often against the ideas of these fellow writers, her experimental, witty and inconoclastic poems were both distinctive and arresting.

Since the republication of her poems in 1996-7, Loy has gained in stature and importance both in the UK and the US: her writing is now seen as central to literary innovations in the 1910s and 1920s, and she is often a set author on undergraduate and MA courses. Apart from the collection of essays Mina Loy: Woman and Poet published twelve years ago, there is currently no single book on Loy’s work in print. The Companion will be an invaluable new resource for students and readers of modernism. It provides new perspectives and cutting-edge research on Loy’s work and is distinctive in its consideration of her prosodic and linguistic experiments alongside a discussion of the literary and historical contexts in which she worked.

The contributors include influential and emerging experts in modernist studies. They are Peter Nicholls, Tim Armstrong, Geoff Gilbert, David Ayers, Andrew Robertson, John Wilkinson, Suzanne Hobson, Rachel Potter, Alan Marshall, Rowan Harris and Sandeep Parmar.

Praise for this Book

‘Mina Loy’s writing was for some years beyond the crust of a modernist pie and now appears at or even as the very center of a newer modernism’s crumble cake. Whatever her work was and is, there is no better introduction to or discussion of it than this collection edited by Suzanne Hobson and Rachel Potter, which offers a belated homecoming for Loy from British-based scholars and poet-critics. Here we have Loy jostling with a host of discourses, from Futurism to Christian Science, from Jules Laforgue’s irony as appropriated by Ezra Pound to Otto Weininger’s sexology redeployed by Dora Marsden. Now and again Loy looks a little more “boisterous” (Peter Nicholls) and “ecstatic” (Alan Marshall) than she used to look. I am grateful for the attention to Loy’s prosody, for essays on her prose and her late poetry, for Potter’s essay on Loy’s “Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose” and Hobson’s on “Hot Cross Bum,” for all of it. It’s terrific and fun. It’s true that no lepidopterist will pin this butterfly, and these writers know it, but we are the better for their trying.’ —Keith Tuma

‘Mina Loy’s writing was for some years beyond the crust of a modernist pie and now appears at or even as the very center of a newer modernism’s crumble cake. There is no better introduction to it than the essays in this collection.’ —Keith Tuma

‘This is an outstanding collection of essays, opening up the multiple facets of Mina Loy’s rich and fascinating life and work in the most perceptive and illuminating ways. The essays range across issues of autobiography and subjectivity, Loy’s poetics and their relationship to those of her modernist contemporaries, and the modes of thought, vision and belief that composed her writing. The discussions of Loy in this collection elucidate at every turn this most complex of writers, while keeping faith with the ‘elusiveness’ and ‘evanescence’ which was her signature.’ —Laura Marcus

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