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Designs for Living: Female Designers, the Designing Female, Modernism and the Middlebrow

Designs for Living: Female Designers, the Designing Female, Modernism and the Middlebrow <jats:p> During the interwar period, the artistic endeavour of the female interior decorator was dismissed as old-fashioned, nostalgic, and, tainted by its association with commerce; it was excluded from the rarefied circle of the higher arts of painting and sculpture and architecture; in the novels and plays of middlebrow authors of the same period, on the other hand, the female interior decorator, mocked for her edgy modernity, became a disturbing icon of urban modernity and a controversial advocate for new designs in living. This essay proposes to demonstrate how the representation in fiction and drama of the interwar period of the female interior decorator, a magnet for anxieties about changing gender roles, class distinctions, sexuality and sexual ambiguity and the ‘sanctity’ of the home, complicates the complexity and mutability of the middlebrow and its fraught relationship with modernism. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Designs for Living: Female Designers, the Designing Female, Modernism and the Middlebrow

Modernist Cultures , Volume 6 (1): 155 – May 1, 2011

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2011
Subject
Articles; Film, Media & Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2011.0008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> During the interwar period, the artistic endeavour of the female interior decorator was dismissed as old-fashioned, nostalgic, and, tainted by its association with commerce; it was excluded from the rarefied circle of the higher arts of painting and sculpture and architecture; in the novels and plays of middlebrow authors of the same period, on the other hand, the female interior decorator, mocked for her edgy modernity, became a disturbing icon of urban modernity and a controversial advocate for new designs in living. This essay proposes to demonstrate how the representation in fiction and drama of the interwar period of the female interior decorator, a magnet for anxieties about changing gender roles, class distinctions, sexuality and sexual ambiguity and the ‘sanctity’ of the home, complicates the complexity and mutability of the middlebrow and its fraught relationship with modernism. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: May 1, 2011

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