For most people, the U.S. suffrage campaign is encapsulated by images of iconic nineteenth-century orators like the tightly coifed Susan B. Anthony or the wimpled Elizabeth Cady Stanton. However, as Mary Chapman shows, the campaign to secure the vote for U.S. women was also a modern and print-cultural phenomenon, waged with humor, creativity, and style.
Making Noise, Making News also understands modern suffragist print culture as a demonstrable link between the Progressive Era's political campaign for a voice in the public sphere and Modernism's aesthetic efforts to re-imagine literary voice. Chapman charts a relationship between modern suffragist print cultural "noise" and what literary modernists understood by "making it new," asserting that the experimental tactics of U.S. suffrage print culture contributed to, and even anticipated, the formal innovations of U.S. literary modernism. Drawing on little-known archives and featuring over twenty illustrations, Making Noise, Making News provides startling documentation of Marianne Moore's closeted career as a suffrage propagandist, the persuasive effects of Alice Duer Miller's popular poetry column, Asian-American author Sui Sin Far's challenge to the racism and classism of modern suffragism, and Gertrude Stein's midcentury acknowledgement of intersections between suffrage discourse and literary modernism.
Mary Chapman is an Associate Professor of English at the University of British Columbia. She is the coeditor of Treacherous Texts: U.S. Suffrage Literature 1846-1946.
"Drawing on a wealth of recent and more established scholarship, Chapman's book will be read as a welcome addition to feminist literary history, suffrage history, sound and print culture studies, and modernist literary studies. It is a generous gift of a book."
--English Studies in Canada
"Mary Chapman's exhilarating analysis shows how suffragist strategies for entering--and disrupting--the public sphere broke its conventions and made way for modernist literary and visual techniques. Making Noise, Making News sounds many new notes in its innovative approach to both modernism and suffrage."
--Ellen Gruber Garvey, author of Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance
"This...volume richly detailsthe maneuvers of the suffrage movement in order, as Chapman states, to examine 'modern suffragists' aesthetically innovative and rhetorically effective contributions to mass print culture, and to understandings of both literary and political 'voice,' in the early twentieth-century United States...[This book] will be invaluable to students of US literature, history, and newspaper journalism, and to scholars of US women's history, in addition to those pursuing related inter- and transdisciplinary studies."
"In this well-written, innovative study of print culture, Mary Chapman traces how American suffragists and their sympathizers used the rhetoric of noise, silence, quotation, ventriloquism and conversation framed in modernist sensibilities to successfully attract attention to their cause in the early twentieth century."
--Sylvia D. Hoffert, author of When Hens Crow: The Woman's Rights Movement in Antebellum America
"...Chapman illuminates the aesthetics of suffrage politics, which contrary to theories of the great divide between high and low modernism, energized modernist experiments with voice. ... Chapman provides smart, endlessly fascinating readings of how suffrage stunts anticipate and vitally inform literary modernist experiments with voice. ... Chapman's closely argued chapters effectively dismantle the modernist great divide between politics and aesthetics, mass and high culture, to reveal how Progressive Era politics fueled the literary innovation of iconic modernists Moore and Gertrude Stein, each steeped in the issues of suffrage and voice that Chapman resuscitates with finesse."
--Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
"From clever marketing campaigns and publicity stunts to more traditional journals and magazines to fiction and poetry, Chapman identifies a range of advocacy strategies used to promote women's suffrage in the mass print media of the early twentieth century. ...Chapman offers an entertaining look at how activists took advantage of various print forms of communication with irresistible humor and compelling common sense."
--Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers
"This bold and beautifully written study recovers the rich history of American suffragists' literary and periodical press provocations, challenging modernist historiographies that have either actively erased or simply ignored the 'deep affinities' between suffragist and avant-garde experimentalism in the U.S. A must-read for anyone interested in the print media ecology of both modernism and modernity."
--Ann Ardis, author of Modernism and Cultural Conflict: 1880-1922