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The Lost Lunar Baedeker
Edited by Roger L. Conover
Categories: 20th Century, American, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (256 pages)
(Pub. Sep 1997)
Mina Loy (1882-1966) has been perplexingly absent from British literary history. In America she has been posthumously launched as the electric-age Blake, she has been translated into French and Italian to great acclaim, and in the Times Literary Supplement Thom Gunn compared her to the great Augustan satirists. Her reclamation as an English poet is long overdue.
Pound, Moore and Williams valued her work, while British critics openly scorned it. Not only were her futurist techniques unlike anything they had encountered before, but her subjects -- procreation, parturition, prostitution, suicide, addiction, retardation -- were considered shocking even by some modernists.
She vanished from the literary scene just as dramatically as she had arrived on it, and for much of the century her bold experiments remained a well-kept secret. Carcanet first introduced her work to British readers in 1985 in Roger Conover's The Last Lunar Baedeker, a collected writings. This new edition updates our earlier volume and presents more reliable texts of the essential Loy poems. It includes more extensive notes and apparatus, and features a number of previously unknown works rescued from Dada archives and obscure avant-garde little magazines. All of Loy's canonical Futurist and feminist satires are included, as are the celebrated poems from her Paris and New York periods, the complete cycle of `Love Songs', and her famous portraits-in-verse which define the trajectory of her favoured company and geography -- from fellow modernists Joyce and Brancusi in Paris in the 1920s to fellow destitutes in New York's Lower East Side in the 1940s.
ROGER CONOVER is the senior editor at the MIT Press, where he publishes books on art, architecture, modernism and theory. He is the author of many essays on Mina Loy and Arthur Cravan, whose biography he is writing.
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