Marianne Moore and the arcadian pleasure of shopping

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This article contributes to the reconfiguration of modernism in the early part of the twenty-first century. By acknowledging Moore’s interest in, and engagement with the discourses of consumer culture, Bazin suggests an alternative interpretive model, capable of broadening our understanding of not just Moore’s poetry, but of American poetic modernism more generally. Drawing on the work of Walter Benjamin to conceptualise Moore’s use of the quoted fragment, Bazin argues that Moore’s poetry responds more positively to the expansion of consumer culture than is commonly recognised. As feminist cultural historians have acknowledged, for some women at least, there was pleasure and even a certain degree of social power in the new and expanding consumer culture of the 1920’s. Moore’s poem, ‘When I Buy Pictures’ represents a desire for objects that are specifically feminised and erotically charged. It expresses a new found pleasure in consumption that is related to women’s changing social roles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-235
JournalWomen: A Cultural Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


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