Laura Riding, Contemporaries and Snobs, from University of Alabama Press

Discount offer on Riding, Mullen, Quatermain, Reading the Difficulties


Tuscaloosa, AL - April 25, 2014 (University of Alalbama Press announcement) - Laura Riding's Contemporaries and Snobs (1928) was the first volume of essays to engage critically with high modernist poetics from the position of the outsider. For readers today, it offers a compelling account - by turns personal, by turns historical - of how the institutionalization of modernism denuded experimental poetry. Most importantly, Contemporaries and Snobs offers a counter-history of the idiosyncratic, of what the institution of modernism left (and leaves) behind. With Gertrude Stein as its figurehead, the book champions the noncanonical, the "barbaric," and the undertheorized.
Riding's nuanced defense of a poetics of the person in Contemporaries and Snobs represents a forgotten but essential first attempt to identify and foster what is now a well-defined poetic lineage that leads from Stein to the contemporary experimental avant-garde. In these essays, Riding takes her readers on a remarkably thorough tour through the critical scene of the 1920s. Among other influential treatises, she considers T. S. Eliot's The Sacred Wood and his editorial essays in The Criterion, Allen Tate's "Poetry and the Absolute," John Crowe Ransom's essays on the modernist poet Edgell Rickword's essays in The Calendar of Modern Letters, and Herbert Read's posthumous publication of T. E. Hulme's essays. All of this criticism, Riding notes, gave modern poets a sheen of seriousness and professionalism, but was it good for poetry? Her decisive answer is "no." 

This new edition includes an introduction by Laura Heffernan and Jane Malcolm that makes legible the many connections between Contemporaries and Snobs and the critical debates and poetic experiments of the 1920s, as well as explanatory notes, a chronological bibliography of Riding's work, and an index of proper names.


Laura Riding, later Laura (Riding) Jackson, was a prolific and respected poet, and writer of both fiction and nonfiction, who published all her major poetry during the 1920s and 1930s. During those two decades Riding published thirteen collections of poetry along with six novels and story collections and eight works of nonfiction, including Contemporaries and Snobs. Riding later turned her attention solely to nonfiction, actively publishing until her death in 1991. She was honored with the Mark Rothko Appreciation Award in 1971, a Guggenheim fellowship in 1973, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in 1979, and Yale University's Bollingen Prize for her lifetime contribution to poetry in 1991.
Jane Malcolm is an assistant professor of English at the Université de Montréal. She has written previously about Laura Riding's gendered poetics and about the ambivalent feminisms of H.D., Mina Loy, and Gertrude Stein.
Laura Heffernan is an assistant professor of English at the University of North Florida. She has written previously about the modernist criticism of Rebecca West, John Rodker, T. E. Hulme, and Edmund Wilson.

"It was left for Miss Laura Riding, American poet residing in England, to discover [Gertrude Stein's Composition as Explanation], and to appreciate it." 
- Elliott Paul, Paris Tribune
"[Riding] has made a singularly complete and convincing survey of the causes of modern poetry." 
-Times Literary Supplement
Quality Paper
ISBN 978-0-8173-5767-2
Retail Price: $34.95
ISBN 978-0-8173-8737-2
Retail Price: $34.95
When you purchase Contemporaries and Snobs 
for the sale price of $24.95, you are eligible to purchase
the following titles for $5 each!
Harryette Mullen
Paper, 296pp.

Peter Quartermain
Paper, 336pp.

Thomas Fink &
Judith Halden-Sullivan
Paper, 240pp.

To order, call 800-621-2736 through May 31, 2014 and
reference discount offer 'RIDING'.    
The University of Alabama Press is a proud member of the Association of American University Presses. The Press currently publishes 70-75 new titles a year and has over 1,800 titles in print; it is a founding member of the University Press Content Consortium and is at the cutting edge of digital publishing. The Press is the publishing arm of the University of Alabama.
University of Alabama Press | 1-800-621-2736 |
Box 870380
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0380
For more information: JD Wilson

(205) 348-1566