Are you the kind of reader who prefers a handheld book that you can read in an armchair? If so, Travels with Mina Loy is the book for you (forthcoming from Lever Press, 2024). Like the popular Baedekers published for tourists a century ago, this print companion to our scholarly website provides a guided tour of Loy’s journey from Italian Futurism to New York Dada and Surrealism in Paris and New York, with illustrations, maps, timelines, and a theoretical framework to help orient readers along the way.
Despite the electric interest in Mina Loy in recent decades, students and scholars still lack an accessible guidebook to her life and work, and extant theories of the avant-garde fail to account for the range and diversity of her creative output. Travels with Mina Loy redresses this dual problem, providing in one pocket-sized book a guide to Loy’s avant-garde migrations and a more inclusive theory of avant-garde practices. Some of its outstanding features include:
- A print companion to this born-digital scholarly website, Travels with Mina Loy demonstrates that the book remains an essential hand-held device.
- Travels with Mina Loy is the first book to map out Loy’s complex geographic and artistic migrations in an accessible narrative form, as well as the first to offer a theory of the avant-garde capacious enough to account for the innovative work of women and other marginalized artists.
- Travels with Mina Loy uses the term en dehors garde to adumbrate an inclusive theory of early 20th-century artistic innovation: coming from ballet, en dehors describes a turn “toward the outside” and connotes how women and artists of color often came from the outside and circulated around the margins, working strategically to transform literary and visual cultures that excluded or objectified them.
- The book remediates key ideas and arguments from the born-digital “Scholarly Book for Digital Travelers,” providing a new introduction, original illustrations to draw you into Loy’s world, and narratives to guide them you her innovative work, migratory life, and en dehors garde networks.
Co-authored by Suzanne W. Churchill, Linda A. Kinnahan, and Susan Rosenbaum, Travels with Mina Loy will be available as a print book as well as in electronic form on Lever Press’s Open Access digital platform, where we will recreate some of the interactive maps, timelines, video, and other media currently available on this site. Publishing academic books in both print and digital forms, Lever Press is at the forefront of innovation in academic publishing. In exploring new approaches to the production and dissemination of liberal arts scholarship, Lever Press is asking the same kinds of questions we are. Whereas scholars and publishers today typically ask, “How do we make print books digital?” Travels with Mina Loy asks, “How do we make a born-digital resource print, and why?”
The content of this website is neither downloadable as a PDF, nor readily convertible to print form. Attempts to print individual pages eliminate interactive media and result in distortions of the page design that inhibit legibility. This is because we built our website with the understanding that UX design is essential to content delivery, and good design must be responsive to content, platform, and audience. Feminist design, which values aesthetic pleasure, engages users and makers as equal partners, and amplifies the voices of marginalized writers and artists, is crucial to our mission, whether we are designing a website or a book—though the two outcomes are very different in our handling. A website is not the same “thing” as a book, and users behave differently than readers. The experience of reading our portable Travels with Mina Loy will be complementary—not duplicative—of navigating our website’s more extensive and varied content. We believe Lever Press is uniquely positioned to help us exploit the distinctive affordances of print and digital platforms for the book companion.