Making Noise, Making News

Making Noise, Making News

Oxford University Press


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.

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About the Author

Mary Chapman

Mary Chapman (B.A., M.A., Queen’s, Ph.D. Cornell) is Professor of English at UBC. She specializes in US literature and transnational American Studies; in particular, she works on intersections between cultural forms, literary production, and politics in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America.

Chapman’s current research involves unearthing the uncollected fiction and journalism of Asian-North American author Edith Eaton (“Sui Sin Far”) and positioning her within the popular transnational print culture of the 1910s. Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (forthcoming from McGill-Queen’s UP) assembles 70 uncollected texts most of which were written before she took up the pseudonym “Sui Sin Far”. Another volume, which collects her uncollected mature work, as well as a monograph that looks at Eaton’s use of the Afro-Asian analogy are works-in-progress.

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