Document Type

Book Chapter


English (Scripps)

Publication Date



American Literature | Literature in English, North America | Women's Studies


The female body has never been so prominently displayed or so critically examined as it is today under the dominance of late capitalism. The results of this display, we can now see, have been mostly negative: women regard themselves at best self-consciously, at worst with disgust. Given this emphasis on self-scrutiny, it comes as no surprise that middle-aged women experience a reduction of self-confidence regarding their physical presences and a concomitant increase in self-dissatisfaction. It is also worth noting that a querulous tone often afflicts them as they grow older, suggesting that they are at odds not only with others but with themselves. These reflections are useful in considering the work of Edna St. Vincent Millay, especially with regard to the relatively new set of emphases that appear in Millay's 1939 volume Huntsman, What Quarry? published when the poet was forty-seven.


This material was excerpted from the book Milay at 100: A Critical Reappraisal, written by Cheryl Walker, edited by Diane P. Freedman. Archived with permission. All rights reserved.

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© 1995 Southern Illinois University Press

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