A Curse on Your Ancestors: Exploring the 'Mongrelization' of Mina Loy

Jordan David Gregory


In the early twentieth century, traditional Europe fell apart. Out of the chaos and uncertainty fostered by World War I grew Modernism, a movement marked by drastic breaks from the traditions of Western art and culture (Abrams 202). Through this schism, Modernists found the freedom to forge their cultural future; for Modernist artist and poet Mina Loy, this freedom allowed her to forge a cultural purpose for her “mongrelized” ancestry. In Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose, Loy allegorizes her Hungarian-Jewish father, her English-Christian mother, and herself as Exodus, the English Rose, and Ova, respectively, to illustrate not only the chaos to be found in cross-cultural marriage, but also the artistic freedom and beauty to be found in its consummation and procreation. In my essay, I argue that Loy’s frequent use of discordant imagery, pauses and enjambment within her verse suggest the fragmentation of Exodus’s Hungarian-Jewish identity in his attempts to assimilate to English culture and identity through marriage to the English Rose. Out of the discord of their union grows Ova, an ungendered, dehumanized entity that represents the uniting of her parents’ cultures in “mongrelized” human form. Through my exploration of Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose, I demonstrate that Ova’s creation of a new poetry allegorizes Loy’s belief that the fragmentation of nationalism is a necessity for the birth of a new twentieth century culture.


English; Modernism; Postwar; Poetry; Mina Loy; Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5399/uo/ourj.2.1.1901


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