Category Archives: poetry

Lost Modernists & The Face

Literature & the Face: A Critical History has recently teamed up with the Lost Modernists research network to publish a volume of essays on lost modernists, faciality and literature.

With an Introduction by Tyne Daile Sumner, the volume features a range of global essays on gender, portraiture, phenomenology and faces, the ‘dead face,’ and modernist poetry. Including:

‘Look at the wretch’s face!: Considering the Face in Rashid Jahan’s ‘Woh” by Anna Learn

‘Facing War: Kati Horna’s Portraiture Experiments and the Spanish Civil War’ by Laura Hartmann-Villalta

‘Nose Perception in Modernist Writing: What’s That Between Your Eyes?’ by Ryan O’Shea

‘The Dead Face: A process of haunted recognition in May Sinclair’ by Guy Webster

And ‘Parts of a Body’s Head: Laura Riding Jackson’s Fragmentation of Face’ by Tyne Daile Sumner.

We’re thrilled to share this exciting collaboration with the Lost Modernists network and their group of dedicated scholars and editors!

Disturbed Faces: Conference Program

We now have a flyer and program for our forthcoming conference: Disturbed Faces (Visages perturbés / Verstörte Gesichter).

Disturbed Faces will be hosted by the literature program at the University of Geneva and the Swiss Association of General and Comparative Literature.

When: 3rd-5th November, 2022 at the University of Geneva

The conference program can be found here!

Modernist Literature & the Face: CFP

We’re excited to launch a new Blog Cluster on Modernist Literature & the Face with the cross-institutional Lost Modernists network. 

Lost Modernists is a hub for all-things related to literary modernism, including neglected or lost modernist writers and those part of the Lost Generation. Their content spans rare books, interviews with eminent scholars, authorial profiles, peer-reviewed blog clusters, and more.

Henri Gaudier-Brzeska
Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound, 1914

We’re seeking contributions in the form of interviews, short reflections and scholarly essays that consider the representation of the face in modernist literature.

Possible topics might include:

  • facial expression and identity in modernist literary texts
  • the ‘unreadable’ or ambivalent gaze of modernism 
  • interpreting faces in daily life
  • loss of face, impersonality and ennui 
  • imagism and the face in modernist poetry
  • stream of consciousness and the face in the modern novel

More details on the CFP here.



We have launched a new monthly ‘Reading Hour’ for Literature and the Face. Sessions will be held in-person at the University of Melbourne on Tuesday afternoons. We welcome Graduate Researchers and staff from across the university who are interested in topics relating to our project such as faciality, emotions, portraiture, facial-recognition technologies and more.

In our first session in April we examined Mina Loy’s Auto-Facial-Construction (1919), an advertising pamphlet Loy produced that outlines a range of exercises and instructions for achieving what she termed ‘facial integrity.’ For Loy, the ability to communicate one’s true personality to others requires a physical restructuring of the face that harmonises outside appearance with an inner subjectivity, aimed at achieving the ‘fitting esthetic revelation in our faces.’ She stages the unity of self and face through a process of self-fashioning that revives our ‘inherent right … to look like ourselves.’

You can read Auto-Facial-Construction online in this wonderful edition in the Yale
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Christina Walter’s essay in the Modernist Commons, “Feminist Manifesto” and Auto-Facial-Construction, provides an excellent background to the pamphlet.

On May 10th we will meet again to read the next text in our series: Georg Simmel’s 1901 essay, “The Aesthetic Significance of the Face.” To join us in person please contact Tyne Sumner at