Author                                                                                                                              
 

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Amy Cox

History

An active participant in many extracurricular activities, Amy Cox delights first and foremost in the study of literature through historical analysis. She is particularly interested in the works of the feminist author Mary Austin. As an undergraduate, Amy participated in Humanities Out There, Phi Alpha Theta (history honors society), and many other honor societies. Amy spends her free time reading, collecting books, crocheting, shopping, and cooking. She began her graduate studies in history at UCLA in the Fall of 2001. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Abstract                                                                                                                           
 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, new ideas about marriage began circulating in America through the work of the women’s movement and gradual changes in the legal status of women. Changes in the perceptions of marriage were heavily influenced by the work of “American Moderns,” writers who embraced new ideas including feminism and pushed these ideas into the mainstream. Mary Austin contributed to this flow of new ideas through her writings, in which she explored failed marriages full of unfulfilled expectations, applauded marriages that maintained her standards of companionship, passion and equality, and experimented with the possibilities of “free love.” Out of these examinations emerged Austin’s requirements for modern marriage: shared interests, work, and sexual feelings, as well as equality. While Austin embraced some popular radical ideas of the day, unlike many moderns she did not abandon the prospect of marriage for “free love.” Instead, she suggested a marriage based on passion and companionship rather than convenience and necessity. Through Austin’s writings we can better understand the major transformation that occurred in American culture due to the redefinition of relationships between men and women.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                
 
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Alice Fahs

School of Humanities

It is not a surprise to me that Amy Cox is now a graduate student in history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her exemplary work on Mary Austin, the California suffragist and author, revealed that Amy is an indefatigable researcher as well as an astute analyst deeply attuned to the complexities of her subject matter. In discussing Mary Austin she does not treat her as “representative” of her era, but instead explores Austin’s highly individualistic beliefs concerning marriage in the early twentieth century. Yet paradoxically it is by recovering the full individuality of Mary Austin that Amy ultimately recovers her universality. Her thesis is a wonderful achievement.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Copyright 2001 by the Regents of the University of California.  All rights reserved.