Panel on "The Modernist Room," 29 Aug - 1 Sept, Brighton UK -- MSA conference
According to Frederic Jameson, the Modernist novel abandoned the panoramic cityscapes of the 19th century realist novel and devised "strategies of inwardness." As Brigitte Munier suggests, the early-20th century protagonist experienced the city "locked within his room, carried away by the cries of shopowners whom Flaubert and Nerval would have encountered walking down the street." The Modernist room, in these accounts, appears to function as a refuge from a confusing public terrain.
On the other hand, The Omega Workshop was using the domestic interior as a stage to display its opposition to traditional Victorian decorum. Christopher Reed contends, in *Bloomsbury Rooms,* that "Bloomsbury made the conditions of domesticity its standard for modernity, projecting the values of home life outward onto the public realm in both its aesthetic and socio-political initiatives" (5).
This panel* examines the tension between the space of the room as an escape from public/political life and the room as a platform for undermining the public/private distinction. What kinds of rooms appear in Modernist texts? What purpose do they serve as metaphors or containers for the harassed Modernist body/psyche? How did thinking and innovation in disciplines -- such as music, interior design, industrial arts, fine arts, film -- change how we think about rooms as enclosures? In what ways did feminist and colonial perspectives undermine traditional notions of the domestic room as a comforting space of home?
*Pending approval by the MSA committee