Rebecca West, the Forgotten Vorticist?

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The inclusion of Rebecca West’s short story ‘Indissoluble Matrimony’ in the first issue of BLAST (1914) has much to tell us about the intellectual debts the Vorticist movement owed to West and to the feminist periodical culture with which she was associated. West composed her story in 1912-13, years when she was highly active as both contributor to and literary editor of Dora Marsden’s The Freewoman (1911-12) and The New Freewoman (1913). In this article, I examine how the ‘energy’ promoted across BLAST aligned with feminist political conceptions of energy in Marsden’s journals, and how these ideas were also shaped by early twentieth-century understandings of the universe, including theories of vortex motion, the ether, electromagnetism and thermodynamics. By paying close attention to the theme and metaphor of energy in ‘Indissoluble Matrimony’, this article traces patterns of influence between West, Marsden, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis that reveal intersections between avant-guerre feminism and the Vorticist avant-garde.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-497
Number of pages28
JournalModernist Cultures
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019


  • Rebecca West
  • Energy
  • Feminism
  • Vorticism
  • Dora Marsden
  • Ezra Pound


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