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In the first half of the 20th century, when architecture and literature dreamed of transparency, glass was the material these dreams were made of. However, the historiography of both fields usually focuses on a few canonical works by male authors to tell the story of this shared fascination. Departing from this imbalance, this essay takes the opportunity to explore the glass culture of modernity through the lens of female projects whose stories often take place simultaneously on different continents. While the former silent film actor Evelyn Word Leigh builds a glass house for herself in Nyack, New York, artists and writers based in Europe – like Claude Cahun, Anaïs Nin, and Hilda ‘H.D.’ Doolittle – flesh out imaginary glass domes as construction sites of artistic subjectivities. Whether homes or domes, these creative women used glass environments to question and renegotiate their assigned places in western societies, challenging the boundaries of female agency.
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