Date of Award
Jan Gorak, Ph.D.
Laura Riding Jackson, Seizin Press
With the founding of Seizin Press in 1927, Laura Riding began a new epoch in her career as poet and literary theorist. Along with her partner, Robert Graves, Riding worked among and with important literary tastemakers of the Modernist era, such as Gertrude Stein, Len Lye and James Reeves. Riding's demanding and intense editorial and collaborative style resulted in some unique and fascinating works, such as the bizarrely beautiful Life of the Dead and the egomaniacal The World and Ourselves. Beyond close literary examination of the above works, this study looks at the pressures both within the Seizin Press community and without--such as the demands of new publishing standards on small presses, and the intrusion of the Spanish Civil War. Ultimately, the control Riding exerted on both her own work and the works of those around her reflected more than the hysterical micro-managing of which she and so many other women editors were accused. Instead, her obsessive desire to control every word written by her collaborators and clients spoke to her radical view of language as not only stable, but the only link with ultimate truth. Authors, especially poets, became more and more suspect as purveyors of lies in Riding's point of view. During her years at the press, Riding's understanding of the poet's role in society shifted from one akin to priest into one akin to charlatan. For Riding scholars, it is especially important that we consider the impact of Riding's years at Seizin Press in her infamous disavowal of poetry in 1941. This study therefore works to place in conversation Riding's years at Seizin with her language theories and, in turn, explore the way such theories defined Riding's reality through her work at the press.
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Whitney, Christina Cain, "Editorial Collaboration and Control: Laura Riding and the Seizen Press Years" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 703.
Received from ProQuest
Christina Cain Whitney
Literature, American literature, British and Irish literature