In times of liberal despair it helps to have someone like John Carlos Rowe put things into perspective, in this case, with a collection of essays that asks the question, “Must we throw out liberalism’s successes with the neoliberal bathwater?” Rowe first lays out a genealogy of early twentieth-century modernists, such as Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, with an eye toward stressing their transnationally engaged liberalism and their efforts to introduce into the literary avant-garde the concerns of politically marginalized groups, whether defined by race, class, or gender. The second part of the volume includes essays on the works of Harper Lee, Thomas Berger, Louise Erdrich, and Philip Roth, emphasizing the continuity of efforts to represent domestic political and social concerns. While critical of the increasingly conservative tone of the neoliberalism of the past quarter-century, Rowe rescues the value of liberalism’s sympathetic and socially engaged intent, even as he criticizes modern liberalism’s inability to work transnationally.
During the struggle for decolonization, Frantz Fanon argued that artists who mimicked European aestheticism were “beginning at the end,” skipping the inventive phase of youth for a decadence thought more typical of Europe’s declining empires. Robert Stilling takes up Fanon’s assertion to argue that decadence became a key idea in postcolonial thought, describing both the failures of revolutionary nationalism and the assertion of new cosmopolitan ideas about poetry and art.
In Stilling’s account, anglophone postcolonial artists have reshaped modernist forms associated with the idea of art for art’s sake and often condemned as decadent. By reading decadent works by J. K. Huysmans, Walter Pater, Henry James, and Oscar Wilde alongside Chinua Achebe, Derek Walcott, Agha Shahid Ali, Derek Mahon, Yinka Shonibare, Wole Soyinka, and Bernardine Evaristo, Stilling shows how postcolonial artists reimagined the politics of aestheticism in the service of anticolonial critique. He also shows how fin de siècle figures such as Wilde questioned the imperial ideologies of their own era.
Like their European counterparts, postcolonial artists have had to negotiate between the imaginative demands of art and the pressure to conform to a revolutionary politics seemingly inseparable from realism. Beginning at the End argues that both groups—European decadents and postcolonial artists—maintained commitments to artifice while fostering oppositional politics. It asks that we recognize what aestheticism has contributed to politically engaged postcolonial literature. At the same time, Stilling breaks down the boundaries around decadent literature, taking it outside of Europe and emphasizing the global reach of its imaginative transgressions.
In this acclaimed revisionist study, Erika Doss chronicles an historic cultural change in American art from the dominance of regionalism in the 1930s to abstract expressionism in the 1940s. She centers her study on Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock, Benton's foremost student in the early thirties, charting Pollock's early imitation of Benton's style before his radical move to abstraction. By situating painting within the evolving sociopolitical and cultural context of the Depression and the Cold War, Doss explains the reasons for this change and casts light on its significance for contemporary culture.
"A welcome addition to the growing body of literature that deals with the art and culture of the depression and cold war eras. It is a pioneering work that makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of a puzzling conundrum of American art—the shift from regionalism to abstract expressionism."—M. Sue Kendall, Winterthur Portfolio
"An important scholarly contribution. . . . This book will stand as a step along the way to a better understanding of the most amazing transition in the art of our tumultuous century."—James G. Rogers, Jr., Art Journal
"A valuable and interesting book that restores continuity and political context to the decades of depression and war."—Marlene Park, American Historical Review
Bodies of Modernism brings a new and exciting analytical lens to modernist literature, that of critical disability studies. The book offers new readings of canonical and noncanonical writers from both sides of the Atlantic including Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, H. G. Wells, D. H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Bowen, Henry Green, Olive Moore, Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams, J. M. Synge, Florence Barclay, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Through readings of this wide range of texts and with chapters focusing on mobility impairments, deafness, blindness, and deformity, the study reveals both modernism’s skepticism about and dependence on fantasies of whole, “normal” bodies.
Clement Greenberg is widely recognized as the most influential and articulate champion of modernism during its American ascendency after World War II, the period largely covered by these highly acclaimed volumes of The Collected Essays and Criticism. Volume 3: Affirmations and Refusals presents Greenberg's writings from the period between 1950 and 1956, while Volume 4: Modernism with a Vengeance gathers essays and criticism of the years 1957 to 1969. The 120 works range from little-known pieces originally appearing Vogue and Harper's Bazaar to such celebrated essays as "The Plight of Our Culture" (1953), "Modernist Painting" (1960), and "Post Painterly Abstraction" (1964). Preserved in their original form, these writings allow readers to witness the development and direction of Greenberg's criticism, from his advocacy of abstract expressionism to his enthusiasm for color-field painting.
With the inclusion of critical exchanges between Greenberg and F. R. Leavis, Fairfield Porter, Thomas B. Hess, Herbert Read, Max Kozloff, and Robert Goldwater, these volumes are essential sources in the ongoing debate over modern art. For each volume, John O'Brian has furnished an introduction, a selected bibliography, and a brief summary of events that places the criticism in its artistic and historical context.
Man Ray (1890–1976) has long been considered one of the most versatile and innovative artists of the twentieth century. As a painter, writer, sculptor, photographer, and filmmaker, he is best known for his intimate association with the French Surrealist group in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, particularly for his highly inventive and unconventional photographic images. These remarkable accomplishments, however, have tended to overshadow the importance of his earlier work—significant not only for comprehending Man Ray’s future artistic development, but also for fleshing out our understanding of the visual arts in America during one of the most important and crucial phases of the evolution of modernism.
The book, and the exhibition for which this work will serve as the catalog, concentrate on Man Ray’s production from 1907 to 1917. Conversion to Modernism will be the first comprehensive, fully illustrated work to examine this artist’s seminal years. The show and the catalog begin with Man Ray’s high school years in Brooklyn, his studies at the Art Students League and the American Academy in New York, and the time he spent in life drawing classes at the more progressive Ferrer Center
From 1913 to 1915, Man Ray lived in a small artists’ colony in Grantwood, New Jersey. It was here, studying with Samuel Halpert (a former student of Matisse), that Man Ray began to become the artist we know today. The last section of the show and of the book include recently discovered photographs and other works that are influenced by a knowledge of the emergent Dada movement. Here is Man Ray in recognizable form just before he leaves the country for France in 1921.
This exhibit will first be on display at the Montclair Art Museum from January 26 through March 2003. It will then travel to museums in Athens, Georgia, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
Cultures of Modernism explores how the structure and location of literary communities significantly influence who writes, what they write about, and their openness to formal experimentation. These influences particularly affect women writers. Author Cristanne Miller notes striking patterns of similarity in the concerns and lives of women living in geographically distant centers of modernist production. She looks at three significant poets---the American Marianne Moore, the British expatriate Mina Loy, and the German Else Lasker-Schüler---in the context of cultural, national, and local elements to argue that location significantly affected their performances of subjectivity, gender, race, and religion. The first book of its kind, Cultures of Modernism breaks new ground while it contributes to the ongoing reconception of the modernist period.
"A fascinating, provocative, and genuinely original study of a 'different' modernism in poetry---namely, the Modernism of women poets."
---Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University
"An important and ambitious work that makes major contributions to the fields of gender studies and modernist studies, and to the study of modernist poetry."
---Robin Schulze, Pennsylvania State University
"Offers a welcome corrective to the unreflective critical tendency . . . to make broad claims about the historical experiences and cultural conundrums of 'women,' and particularly 'women writers.' Miller offers tour-de-force comparative readings . . . threading together the world-historical with the personal, poetics with the political, and wielding the instruments of scansion as deftly as a surgeon."
---Modernism/modernity, The Official Journal of the Modernist Studies Association
Cristanne Miller is Edward H. Butler Professor of English and Chair of the English Department at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.
The devastation of World War II left the Yugoslavian capital of Belgrade in ruins. Communist Party leader Josip Broz Tito saw this as a golden opportunity to recreate the city through his own vision of socialism. In Designing Tito’s Capital, Brigitte Le Normand analyzes the unprecedented planning process called for by the new leader, and the determination of planners to create an urban environment that would benefit all citizens.
Led first by architect Nikola Dobrovic and later by Miloš Somborski, planners blended the predominant school of European modernism and the socialist principles of efficient construction and space usage to produce a model for housing, green space, and working environments for the masses. A major influence was modernist Le Corbusier and his Athens Charter published in 1943, which called for the total reconstruction of European cities, transforming them into compact and verdant vertical cities unfettered by slumlords, private interests, and traffic congestion. As Yugoslavia transitioned toward self-management and market socialism, the functionalist district of New Belgrade and its modern living were lauded as the model city of socialist man.
The glow of the utopian ideal would fade by the 1960s, when market socialism had raised expectations for living standards and the government was eager for inhabitants to finance their own housing. By 1972, a new master plan emerged under Aleksandar Ðordevic, fashioned with the assistance of American experts. Espousing current theories about systems and rational process planning and using cutting edge computer technology, the new plan left behind the dream for a functionalist Belgrade and instead focused on managing growth trends. While the public resisted aspects of the new planning approach that seemed contrary to socialist values, it embraced the idea of a decentralized city connected by mass transit.
Through extensive archival research and personal interviews with participants in the planning process, Le Normand’s comprehensive study documents the evolution of ‘New Belgrade’ and its adoption and ultimate rejection of modernist principles, while also situating it within larger continental and global contexts of politics, economics, and urban planning.
In The Ecology of Modernism, Joshua Schuster examines the relationships of key modernist writers, poets, and musicians to nature, industrial development, and pollution. He posits that the curious failure of modernist poets to develop an environmental ethic was a deliberate choice and not an inadvertent omission.
In his opening passage, Schuster boldly invokes lines from Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” which echo as a paean to pollution: “Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys! cast black shadows at nightfall!” Schuster labels this theme “regeneration through pollution” and demonstrates how this motif recurs in modernist compositions. This tolerance for, if not actual exultation of, the by-products of industrialization hindered modernist American artists, writers, and musicians from embracing environmentalist agendas.
Schuster provides specific case studies focusing on Marianne Moore and her connection of fables with animal rights; Gertrude Stein and concepts of nature in her avant-garde poetics; early blues music and poetry and the issue of how environmental disasters (floods, droughts, pestilence) affected black farmers and artists in the American South; and John Cage, who extends the modernist avant-garde project formally but critiques it at the same time for failing to engage with ecology. A fascinating afterword about the role of oil in modernist literary production rounds out this work.
Schuster masterfully shines a light on the modernist interval between the writings of bucolic and nature-extolling Romantics and the emergence of a self-conscious green movement in the 1960s. This rewarding work shows that the reticence of modernist poets in the face of resource depletion, pollution, animal rights, and other ecological traumas is highly significant.
Among the brilliant writers and thinkers who emerged from the multicultural and multilingual world of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were Joseph Roth, Robert Musil, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. For them, the trauma of World War I included the sudden loss of the geographical entity into which they had been born: in 1918, the empire was dissolved overnight, leaving Austria a small, fragile republic that would last only twenty years before being annexed by Hitler’s Third Reich. In this major reconsideration of European modernism, Marjorie Perloff identifies and explores the aesthetic world that emerged from the rubble of Vienna and other former Habsburg territories—an “Austro-Modernism” that produced a major body of drama, fiction, poetry, and autobiography.
Perloff explores works ranging from Karl Kraus’s drama The Last Days of Mankind and Elias Canetti’s memoir The Tongue Set Free to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notebooks and Paul Celan’s lyric poetry. Throughout, she shows that Austro-Modernist literature is characterized less by the formal and technical inventions of a modernism familiar to us in the work of Joyce and Pound, Dada and Futurism, than by a radical irony beneath a seemingly conventional surface, an acute sense of exile, and a sensibility more erotic and quixotic than that of its German contemporaries. Skeptical and disillusioned, Austro-Modernism prefers to ask questions rather than formulate answers.
Five Faces of Modernity is a series of semantic and cultural biographies of words that have taken on special significance in the last century and a half or so: modernity, avant-garde, decadence, kitsch, and postmodernism. The concept of modernity—the notion that we, the living, are different and somehow superior to our predecessors and that our civilization is likely to be succeeded by one even superior to ours—is a relatively recent Western invention and one whose time may already have passed, if we believe its postmodern challengers. Calinescu documents the rise of cultural modernity and, in tracing the shifting senses of the five terms under scrutiny, illustrates the intricate value judgments, conflicting orientations, and intellectual paradoxes to which it has given rise. Five Faces of Modernity attempts to do for the foundations of the modernist critical lexicon what earlier terminological studies have done for such complex categories as classicism, baroque, romanticism, realism, or symbolism and thereby fill a gap in literary scholarship. On another, more ambitious level, Calinescu deals at length with the larger issues, dilemmas, ideological tensions, and perplexities brought about by the assertion of modernity.
One of François Truffaut's most poignantly memorable films, Jules and Jim, adapted a novel by the French writer and art collector Henri-Pierre Roch. The characters and events of the 1960s film were based on a real-life romantic triangle, begun in the summer of 1920, which involved Roch himself, the German-Jewish writer Franz Hessel, and his wife, the journalist Helen Grund.
Drawing on this film and others by Truffaut, Robert Stam provides the first in-depth examination of the multifaceted relationship between Truffaut and Roch. In the process, he provides a unique lens through which to understand how adaptation works-from history to novel, and ultimately to film-and how each form of expression is inflected by the period in which it is created. Truffaut's adaptation of Roch's work, Stam suggests, demonstrates how reworkings can be much more than simply copies of their originals; rather, they can become an immensely creative enterprise-a form of writing in itself.
The book also moves beyond Truffaut's film and the mnage--trois involving Roch, Hessel, and Grund to explore the intertwined lives and work of other famous artists and intellectuals, including Marcel Duchamp, Walter Benjamin, and Charlotte Wolff. Tracing the tangled webs that linked these individuals' lives, Stam opens the door to an erotic/writerly territory where the complex interplay of various artistic sensibilities-all mulling over the same nucleus of feelings and events-vividly comes alive.
In this collection, outstanding historians and theorists explore the representation of heterosexual masculinity embodied in modernist art.
Examining such major European modernists as Cézanne, Caillebotte, Matisse, Wyndham Lewis, and Boccioni, these writings offer a history of how artists sought to shape their sexuality in their work. In turn, the essays also show how the artists were shaped by the historical shifts in the gender order and by the exchanges between sexualities occurring in their social worlds. For example, the piece on Wyndham Lewis shows how he subscribed to an exaggerated masculinism, while the essays on Boccioni and Matisse bring out the efforts by these men to understand feminine sexuality.
In the theoretical essays, Bernard Smith questions modernism itself as a style category. And Richard Shiff and W.J.T. Mitchell trace the consequences for art theory of recognizing the physical presence of modernist artworks and the agency of imagery in our encounter with contemporary art.
In the early twentieth century, Native American baskets, blankets, and bowls could be purchased from department stores, “Indian stores,” dealers, and the U.S. government’s Indian schools. Men and women across the United States indulged in a widespread passion for collecting Native American art, which they displayed in domestic nooks called “Indian corners.” Elizabeth Hutchinson identifies this collecting as part of a larger “Indian craze” and links it to other activities such as the inclusion of Native American artifacts in art exhibitions sponsored by museums, arts and crafts societies, and World’s Fairs, and the use of indigenous handicrafts as models for non-Native artists exploring formal abstraction and emerging notions of artistic subjectivity. She argues that the Indian craze convinced policymakers that art was an aspect of “traditional” Native culture worth preserving, an attitude that continues to influence popular attitudes and federal legislation.
Illustrating her argument with images culled from late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century publications, Hutchinson revises the standard history of the mainstream interest in Native American material culture as “art.” While many locate the development of this cross-cultural interest in the Southwest after the First World War, Hutchinson reveals that it began earlier and spread across the nation from west to east and from reservation to metropolis. She demonstrates that artists, teachers, and critics associated with the development of American modernism, including Arthur Wesley Dow and Gertrude Käsebier, were inspired by Native art. Native artists were also able to achieve some recognition as modern artists, as Hutchinson shows through her discussion of the Winnebago painter and educator Angel DeCora. By taking a transcultural approach, Hutchinson transforms our understanding of the role of Native Americans in modernist culture.
For decades, James Joyce’s modernism has overshadowed his Irishness, as his self-imposed exile and association with the high modernism of Europe’s urban centers has led critics to see him almost exclusively as a cosmopolitan figure.
In Joyce’s Ghosts, Luke Gibbons mounts a powerful argument that this view is mistaken: Joyce’s Irishness is intrinsic to his modernism, informing his most distinctive literary experiments. Ireland, Gibbons shows, is not just a source of subject matter or content for Joyce, but of form itself. Joyce’s stylistic innovations can be traced at least as much to the tragedies of Irish history as to the shock of European modernity, as he explores the incomplete project of inner life under colonialism. Joyce’s language, Gibbons reveals, is haunted by ghosts, less concerned with the stream of consciousness than with a vernacular interior dialogue, the “shout in the street,” that gives room to outside voices and shadowy presences, the disruptions of a late colonial culture in crisis.
Showing us how memory under modernism breaks free of the nightmare of history, and how in doing so it gives birth to new forms, Gibbons forces us to think anew about Joyce’s achievement and its foundations.
In the spring of 1900, British archaeologist Arthur Evans began to excavate the palace of Knossos on Crete, bringing ancient Greek legends to life just as a new century dawned amid far-reaching questions about human history, art, and culture. With Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism, Cathy Gere relates the fascinating story of Evans’s excavation and its long-term effects on Western culture. After the World War I left the Enlightenment dream in tatters, the lost paradise that Evans offered in the concrete labyrinth—pacifist and matriarchal, pagan and cosmic—seemed to offer a new way forward for writers, artists, and thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, James Joyce, Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Graves, and Hilda Doolittle.
Assembling a brilliant, talented, and eccentric cast at a moment of tremendous intellectual vitality and wrenching change, Cathy Gere paints an unforgettable portrait of the age of concrete and the birth of modernism.
The years before World War I were a time of social and political ferment in Europe, which profoundly affected the art world. A major center of this creative tumult was Paris, where many avant-garde artists sought to transform modern art through their engagement with radical politics. In this provocative study of art and anarchism in prewar France, Patricia Leighten argues that anarchist aesthetics and a related politics of form played crucial roles in the development of modern art, only to be suppressed by war fever and then forgotten.
Leighten examines the circle of artists—Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, František Kupka, Maurice de Vlaminck, Kees Van Dongen, and others—for whom anarchist politics drove the idea of avant-garde art, exploring how their aesthetic choices negotiated the myriad artistic languages operating in the decade before World War I. Whether they worked on large-scale salon paintings, political cartoons, or avant-garde abstractions, these artists, she shows, were preoccupied with social criticism. Each sought an appropriate subject, medium, style, and audience based on different conceptions of how art influences society—and their choices constantly shifted as they responded to the dilemmas posed by contradictory anarchist ideas. According to anarchist theorists, art should expose the follies and iniquities of the present to the masses, but it should also be the untrammeled expression of the emancipated individual and open a path to a new social order. Revealing how these ideas generated some of modernism’s most telling contradictions among the prewar Parisian avant-garde, The Liberation of Painting restores revolutionary activism to the broader history of modern art.
From Kate Chopin and Virginia Woolf to William Faulkner and Doris Lessing, modern fiction surges with libidinal currents. The most powerful of these fictions are not merely about sex; rather, they attempt to incorporate the workings of eros into their narrative forms. In doing so, Joseph Allen Boone argues, these modern fictions of sexuality create a politics and poetics of the perverse with the power to transform how we think about and read modernism.
Challenging overarching theories of the novel by carefully mapping the historical contexts that have influenced modern experimental narratives, Boone constructs a model for interpreting sexuality that reaches from Freud's theory of the libidinal instincts to Foucault's theory of sexual discourse. The most ambitious study yet written on the links between literary modernity and the psychology of sex, Boone's Libidinal Currents will be a landmark book in the study of modernist fiction, gay studies/queer theory, feminist criticism, and studies in sexuality and gender.
In the spirit of Lionel Trilling, Edmund Wilson, and Susan Sontag, the renowned literary critic Jeffrey Hart writes The Living Moment, a close reading of literature as it intersects with the political. Hart’s book is an even-handed guide for anyone toddling into the mists of the modernist moment, effortlessly moving between such modernist monuments as Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, Mann’s Doctor Faustus, and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Hart’s most stunning achievement is his brilliant inclusion of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead as a modernist text, for the way the novel teaches us to see more, to hear more, to feel more. Hart’s dazzling study is an examination of important works of literature as they explore the experience of living in a broken world with thought and sometimes with examples of resolve that possess permanent validity. The Living Moment is for anyone who is wearied by so much of today’s trendy, narrow, and ideologically driven criticism.
Although studies of Modernism have focused largely on European nations, Spain has been conspicuously neglected. As Carol A. Hess argues in this compelling book, such neglect is wholly undeserved. Through composer Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), Hess explores the advent of Modernism in Spain in relation to political and cultural tensions prior to the Spanish Civil War. The result is a fresh view of the musical life of Spain that departs from traditional approaches to the subject and reveals an open and constantly evolving aesthetic climate.
This is the first in-depth study of the English neurologist and polymath Sir Henry Head (1861-1940). Head bridged the gap between science and the arts. He was a published poet who had close links with such figures as Thomas Hardy and Siegfried Sassoon. His research into the nervous system and the relationship between language and the brain broke new ground. L. S. Jacyna argues that these advances must be contextualized within wider Modernist debates about perception and language.
In his time, Head was best known for his research into the human nervous system. He did a series of experiments in collaboration with W. H. R. Rivers in which cutaneous nerves were surgically severed in Head's arm and the stages by which sensation returned were chartered over several years. Head’s friend, the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, drew out the epistemological implications of how, in this new conception, the nervous system furthered the knowledge of the world.
From Bauhaus to Dada, from Virginia Woolf to John Dos Passos, the Modernist movement revolutionized the way we perceive, portray, and participate in the world. This landmark anthology is a comprehensive documentary resource for the study of Modernism, bringing together more than 150 key essays, articles, manifestos, and other writings of the political and aesthetic avant-garde between 1840 and 1950.
By favoring short extracts over lengthier originals, the editors cover a remarkable range and variety of modernist thinking. Included are not just the familiar high modernist landmarks such as Gustave Flaubert, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce, but also a diverse representation from the sciences, politics, philosophy, and the arts, including Charles Darwin, Thorstein Veblen, W. E. B. Du Bois, Isadora Duncan, John Reed, Adolf Hitler, and Sergei Eisenstein. Another welcome feature is a substantial selection of hard-to-find manifestos from the many modernist movements, among them futurism, cubism, Dada, surrealism, and anarchism.
This collection of essays by renowned literary scholars offers a sustained and comprehensive account of the relation of British and Irish literary modernism to colonialism. Bringing postcolonial studies into dialogue with modernist studies, the contributors move beyond depoliticized appreciations of modernist aesthetics as well as the dismissal of literary modernism as irredeemably complicit in the evils of colonialism. They demonstrate that the modernists were not unapologetic supporters of empire. Many were avowedly and vociferously opposed to colonialism, and all of the writers considered in this volume were concerned with the political and cultural significance of colonialism, including its negative consequences for both the colonizer and the colonized.
Ranging over poetry, fiction, and criticism, the essays provide fresh appraisals of Joseph Conrad, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Wyndham Lewis, E. M. Forster, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Hugh MacDiarmid, and Evelyn Waugh, as well as Robert Louis Stevenson and H. Rider Haggard. The essays that bookend the collection connect the modernists to their Victorian precursors, to postwar literary critics, and to postcolonial poets. The rest treat major works written or published between 1899 and 1939, the boom years of literary modernism and the period during which the British empire reached its greatest geographic expanse. Among the essays are explorations of how primitivism figured in the fiction of Lawrence and Lewis; how, in Ulysses, Joyce used modernist techniques toward anticolonial ends; and how British imperialism inspired Conrad, Woolf, and Eliot to seek new aesthetic forms appropriate to the sense of dislocation they associated with empire.
Contributors. Nicholas Allen, Rita Barnard, Richard Begam, Nicholas Daly, Maria DiBattista, Ian Duncan, Jed Esty, Andrzej Gąsiorek, Declan Kiberd, Brian May, Michael Valdez Moses, Jahan Ramazani, Vincent Sherry
Modernism and Hegemony was first published in 1990. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
In Modernism and Hegemony, Neil Larsen exposes the underlying political narratives of modernist aesthetic theory and practice. Unlike earlier Marxist critics, Larsen insists that modernist ideology be approached as a "displaced politics" and not simply as an aesthetic phenomenon. In this view, modernism is broadly ideological project comprising not only the literary-artist canon but also a wide array of theoretical discourses from aesthetics to philosophy, culture, and politics. Larsen gives postmodernism some credit for the apparent breakup of modernism, and for exposing the philosophical and political nature of its aesthetic stance. But he parts company with its ideological and epistemological notions, proposing to change the terms, and thus the framework, of the debate.
For Larsen, modernism is intimately linked to a crisis of representation that affected all aspects of life in the late nineteenth century - a period when capitalism itself was undergoing transformation from its "classical" free market phase into a more abstract, monopolistic and imperialistic stage. Larsen finds the resultant loosening of ties between individuals and society - the breakdown of social and historical agency - behind the growth of modernism. He employs speculative cross-readings of key texts by Marx and Adorno, an examination of Manet's "The Execution of Maximilian," and an analysis of modernism in a Third World setting to explain why modernism made special claims upon the aesthetic, and how it ultimately ascribed historical agency to "works of art."
Modernism and Masculinity argues that a crisis of masculinity among European writers and artists played a key role in the modernist revolution. Gerald Izenberg revises the notion that the feminine provided a premodern refuge for artists critical of individualism and materialism. Industrialization and the growing power of the market inspired novelist Thomas Mann, playwright Frank Wedelind, and painter Wassily Kandinsky to feel the problematic character of their own masculinity. As a result, these artists each came to identify creativity, transcendence, and freedom with the feminine.
But their critique of masculinity created enormous challenges: How could they appropriate a feminine aesthetic while retaining their own masculine idenitites? How did appropiating the feminine affect their personal relationships or their political views? Modernism and Masculinity seeks to answer these questions. In this absorbing combination of biography and formal critique, Izenberg reconsiders the works of Mann, Wedekind, Kandinsky and semonstrates how the cirses of masculinity they endure are found not just within the images and forms of their art, but in the distinct and very personal impulses that inspired it.
If in earlier eras music may have seemed slow to respond to advances in other artistic media, during the modernist age it asserted itself in the vanguard. Modernism and Music provides a rich selection of texts on this moment, some translated into English for the first time. It offers not only important statements by composers and critics, but also musical speculations by poets, novelists, philosophers, and others-all of which combine with Daniel Albright's extensive, interlinked commentary to place modernist music in the full context of intellectual and cultural history.
"Mr. Baker perceives the harlem Renaissance as a crucial moment in a movement, predating the 1920's, when Afro-Americans embraced the task of self-determination and in so doing gave forth a distinctive form of expression that still echoes in a broad spectrum of 20th-century Afro-American arts. . . . Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance may well become Afro-America's 'studying manual.'"—Tonya Bolden, New York Times Book Review
The first comprehensive English-language study of literary trends in the fiction of Taiwan over the last forty years, this pioneering work explores a rich tradition of literary Modernism in its shifting relationship with Chinese politics and culture. Situating her subject in its historical context, Sung-sheng Yvonne Chang traces the connection between Taiwan's Modernists and the liberal scholars of pre-Communist China. She discusses the Modernists' ambivalent relationship with contemporary Taiwan's conservative culture, and provides a detailed critical survey of the strife between the Modernists and the socialistically inclined, anti-Western Nativists. Chang's approach is comprehensive, combining Chinese and comparative perspectives. Employing the critical insights of Raymond Williams, Peter Burger, M. M. Bahktin, and Fredric Jameson, she investigates the complex issues involved in Chinese writers' appropriation of avant-gardism, aestheticism, and various other Western literary concepts and techniques. Within this framework, Chang offers original, challenging interpretations of major works by the best-known Chinese Modernists from Taiwan. As an intensive introduction to a literature of considerable quality and impact, and as a case study of the global spread of Western literary Modernism, this book will be of great interest to students of Chinese and comparative literature, and to those who wish to understand the broad patterns of twentieth-century literary history.
Today’s mass-market romances have their precursors in late Victorian popular novels written by and for women. In Modernism and the Women’s Popular Romance Martin Hipsky scrutinizes some of the best-selling British fiction from the period 1885 to 1925, the era when romances, especially those by British women, were sold and read more widely than ever before or since.
Recent scholarship has explored the desires and anxieties addressed by both “low modern” and “high modernist” British culture in the decades straddling the turn of the twentieth century. In keeping with these new studies, Hipsky offers a nuanced portrait of an important phenomenon in the history of modern fiction. He puts popular romances by Mrs. Humphry Ward, Marie Corelli, the Baroness Orczy, Florence Barclay, Elinor Glyn, Victoria Cross, Ethel Dell, and E. M. Hull into direct relationship with the fiction of Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, James Joyce, and D. H. Lawrence, among other modernist greats.
Ten new and important essays on design cover Modernism's fortunes in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Britain, Spain, Belgium and the USA; they range in subject matter from world fairs and everyday domestic objects to American West coast architecture and French and Italian furniture.
With essays by Tim Benton, Gillian Naylor, Penny Sparke, Wendy Kaplan, Clive Wainwright, Martin Gaughan, Guy Julier, Mimi Wilms, Julian Holder and Paul Greenhalgh.
"The object of this book is to diffuse myths. If modernism has, in the past, been both absurdly praised and absurdly damned, Modernism in Design seeks to lift it out of this cycle, and to demonstrate that the modern movement could offer neither Jerusalem nor Babylon ... In this, the book succeeds admirably."—Designer's Journal
"While this collection of essays is aimed primarily at design historians and students of design history, hard-pressed practising designers and architects should make room for it on their bookshelves."—Design
Modernism the Morning After
Bob Perelman University of Alabama Press, 2017 Library of Congress PS228.M63P47 2017 | Dewey Decimal 810.9112
In Modernism the Morning After, Bob Perelman scrutinizes a number of long-held modernist dogmas in order to articulate a more capacious model for thinking about modernism, past, present, and future.
Modernism the Morning After is a superb, lively, engaging series of essays and talks, dating from 1995 to 2016, by the eminent scholar, critic, and poet Bob Perelman. Throughout his career, Perelman has focused on the persistence of modernist ambition in poetry, with all of its admirable articulations and tragicomic short-circuits. Poetry, it turns out, is not simply “news that stays news,” as Ezra Pound postulated. Instead, as Perelman demonstrates, poetry often gropes toward whatever news can be found in the broader contexts of public speech—the cultural commons, the almost-real or much-too-real language of people and our hyperactive media.
Working in a variety of modes from the poetic to the dramatic to the conversational, and ranging across an expansive historical register from Dickinson, Whitman, and Dunbar in the nineteenth century to Kenneth Goldsmith and Stephen Colbert in the twenty-first, Perelman’s readings are unfailingly illuminating and, in many cases, his witty expositions take us strikingly close to the original intent of the text concerned.
Perelman also places intermittent, yet artful, pressure on some basic questions about the very nature of poetry. What does the transcription of poems tell us about them? How do hoaxes like the Ern Malley affair compel us to reconsider fundamental assumptions about what constitutes “authentic” poetry? How does the bathetic register relate to tones and idiom in recent poetic production? In Modernism the Morning After, Perelman writes as a poet, teacher, and critic, addressing a broad audience of readers and writers without choosing between them, inviting all to consider along with him modernism’s future through a dynamic consideration of its past.
In this critical study, Terri Mester makes solid biographic, thematic, technical, and figurative cases that W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence, and William Carlos Williams turned to dance and dancers—actual and mythic—to reinvigorate their literary practices.
Networks of Modernism offers a new understanding of American modernist aesthetics and introduces the idea that networks were central to how American moderns thought about their culture in their dramatically changing milieu. While conventional wisdom holds that the network rose to prominence in the 1980s and 1990s in the context of information technologies, digitization is only the most recent manifestation of networks in intellectual history. Crucial developments in modern America provide another archive of network discourses well before the advent of the digital age. The rise of the railroad recast the American landscape as an assortment of interconnected hubs. The advent of broadcast radio created a decentralized audience that was at once the medium’s strength and its weakness. The steady and intertwined advances of urbanization and immigration demanded the reconceptualization of community and ethnic identity to replace the failing “melting pot” metaphor for the nation. Indeed, the signal developments of the modern era eroded social stratification and reorganized American society in a nodal, decentralized, and interpenetrating form—what today we would label a “distributed” network that is fully flattened and holds no clustered centers of power.
In this ferment of social upheaval and technological change, the moderns found what we would today term “the network,” though they did not have the vocabulary for it that we do now, to be a versatile model for their aesthetic experiments in representing social space and social relations. Whether they used the figuration of the network as a kind of formal experiment to negotiate the tensions between dispersal and unity, fragment and totality, or took the network as a subject in itself, as seen when dealing with crowds or public spaces, the network was a way for writers and artists to conceptualize and explore their rapidly changing society. Through readings of the works of Randolph Bourne, Jean Toomer, Anita Loos, John Dos Passos, and Nathanael West, Networks of Modernism positions the network as the defining figure of American modernist aesthetics and explores its use as a conceptual tool used to think through the rapid changes in American society.
Winner of the Premio Iberoamericano Book Award in 1997 (Spanish Edition)
What form does the crisis of modernity take in Latin America when societies are politically demobilized and there is no revolutionary agenda in sight? How does postmodern criticism reflect on enlightenment and utopia in a region marked by incomplete modernization, new waves of privatization, great masses of excluded peoples, and profound sociocultural heterogeneity? In No Apocalypse, No Integration Martín Hopenhayn examines the social and philosophical implications of the triumph of neoliberalism and the collapse of leftist and state-sponsored social planning in Latin America. With the failure of utopian movements that promised social change, the rupture of the link between the production of knowledge and practical intervention, and the defeat of modernization and development policy established after World War II, Latin American intellectuals and militants have been left at an impasse without a vital program of action. Hopenhayn analyzes these crises from a theoretical perspective and calls upon Latin American intellectuals to reevaluate their objects of study, their political reality, and their society’s cultural production, as well as to seek within their own history the elements for a new collective discourse. Challenging the notion that strict adherence to a single paradigm of action can rescue intellectual and cultural movements, Hopenhayn advocates a course of epistemological pluralism, arguing that such an approach values respect for difference and for cultural and theoretical diversity and heterodoxy. This essay collection will appeal to readers of sociology, public policy, philosophy, cultural theory, and Latin American history and culture, as well as to those with an interest in Latin America’s current transition.
"The Old Guard and the Avant-Garde: Modernism in Chicago, 1910-1940 brings together the history and the critical reaction to the new developments in art and design, places them in the context of conservative yet innovative Chicago at the turn of the century, and explores the tensions between tradition and innovation. The individual essays present the best in specialized current research, yet one can clearly understand the impact of modernism on the broader intellectual and cultural life of the city. I eagerly await as cohesive and thorough an analysis of the subject for New York."—David Sokol, University of Chicago
"This is fresh and fascinating research about the ups and downs of modernism in Chicago, a city where art students reportedly once hung Matisse in effigy. Regional studies like this one broaden our understanding of how the art world has worked outside of New York and gives depth to a story we know too narrowly. Applause all the way around."—Wanda M. Corn, Stanford University
The United States Air Force Academy stands as one of the most extensive architectural projects of the cold war era. Key to a full understanding of American modernism, the project was also a volatile battleground involving competing ideas about aesthetics and politics. Arguing that the academy's production was squarely grounded in bureaucratic and political processes, Robert Allen Nauman demonstrates that selection of both the site and the design firm was the result of political maneuverings involving U.S. military leadership.
In the academy’s iconic design, myths and metaphors of flight and the American West were interwoven with those of modernism, both to justify the plan and to free it from any lingering socialist or European associations. Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill’s first public exhibition of plans and models for the project was designed by the former Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer, and it incorporated photographs of the Colorado Springs site by Ansel Adams and William Garnett. Using previously unexplored resources of the U.S. Air Force Academy, SOM, and the Air Force Academy Construction Agency, Nauman uncovered materials such as negatives of Adams’s original photographs of the sites. He also conducted extensive interviews with SOM’s project director for the academy, Walter Netsch, in tracing the complete history of the academy's construction, from its earliest conception to eventual completion.
Chinese culture held a well-known fascination for modernist poets like Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. What is less known but is made fully clear by Zhaoming Qian is the degree to which oriental culture made these poets the modernists they became. This ambitious and illuminating study shows that Orientalism, no less than French symbolism and Italian culture, is a constitutive element of Modernism. Consulting rare and unpublished materials, Qian traces Pound’s and Williams’s remarkable dialogues with the great Chinese poets—Qu Yuan, Li Bo, Wang Wei, and Bo Juyi—between 1913 and 1923. His investigation reveals that these exchanges contributed more than topical and thematic ideas to the Americans’ work and suggests that their progressively modernist style is directly linked to a steadily growing contact and affinity for similar Chinese styles. He demonstrates, for example, how such influences as the ethics of pictorial representation, the style of ellipsis, allusion, and juxtaposition, and the Taoist/Zen–Buddhist notion of nonbeing/being made their way into Pound’s pre-Fenollosan Chinese adaptations, Cathay, Lustra, and the Early Cantos, as well as Williams’s Sour Grapes and Spring and All. Developing a new interpretation of important work by Pound and Williams, Orientalism and Modernism fills a significant gap in accounts of American Modernism, which can be seen here for the first time in its truly multicultural character.
Arguing that the contemporary commitment to the importance of cultural identity has renovated rather than replaced an earlier commitment to racial identity, Walter Benn Michaels asserts that the idea of culture, far from constituting a challenge to racism, is actually a form of racism. Our America offers both a provocative reinterpretation of the role of identity in modernism and a sustained critique of the role of identity in postmodernism. “We have a great desire to be supremely American,” Calvin Coolidge wrote in 1924. That desire, Michaels tells us, is at the very heart of American modernism, giving form and substance to a cultural movement that would in turn redefine America’s cultural and collective identity—ultimately along racial lines. A provocative reinterpretation of American modernism, Our America also offers a new way of understanding current debates over the meaning of race, identity, multiculturalism, and pluralism. Michaels contends that the aesthetic movement of modernism and the social movement of nativism came together in the 1920s in their commitment to resolve the meaning of identity—linguistic, national, cultural, and racial. Just as the Johnson Immigration Act of 1924, which excluded aliens, and the Indian Citizenship Act of the same year, which honored the truly native, reconceptualized national identity, so the major texts of American writers such as Cather, Faulkner, Hurston, and Williams reinvented identity as an object of pathos—something that can be lost or found, defended or betrayed. Our America is both a history and a critique of this invention, tracing its development from the white supremacism of the Progressive period through the cultural pluralism of the Twenties. Michaels’s sustained rereading of the texts of the period—the canonical, the popular, and the less familiar—exposes recurring concerns such as the reconception of the image of the Indian as a symbol of racial purity and national origins, the relation between World War I and race, contradictory appeals to the family as a model for the nation, and anxieties about reproduction that subliminally tie whiteness and national identity to incest, sterility, and impotence.
British painter Peter Lanyon transformed the art of landscape, rescuing it from picturesque depictions of the English countryside and resituating it as an art form capable of expressing radical ideas. The old European tradition of landscape—mostly concerned with ownership and leisure and not the daily life of the working class—was of no interest to Lanyon. His work instead reframed the consequences of war and industrialization upon a rapidly changing coastal landscape.
In Peter Lanyon, Andrew Causey sets out to explain just how this transformation occurred. Lanyon’s family resided in West Cornwall for generations, and Causey asserts that the artist’s concern with regional identity, along with his resistance to what he saw as a history of outsider exploitation of St. Ives and the surrounding areas, were integral to his art. Drawing on recent work by cultural geographers, anthropologists, and archeologists, Causey makes sense of Lanyon’s relationship to the landscape and the pre-capitalist economy of his region. Provocative and insightful, Peter Lanyon is a thoroughly illuminating examination of the modern life of a landscape artist.
The Phantom of the Ego is the first comparative study that shows how the modernist account of the unconscious anticipates contemporary discoveries about the importance of mimesis in the formation of subjectivity. Rather than beginning with Sigmund Freud as the father of modernism, Nidesh Lawtoo starts with Friedrich Nietzsche’s antimetaphysical diagnostic of the ego, his realization that mimetic reflexes—from sympathy to hypnosis, to contagion, to crowd behavior—move the soul, and his insistence that psychology informs philosophical reflection. Through a transdisciplinary, comparative reading of landmark modernist authors like Nietzsche, Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, and Georges Bataille, Lawtoo shows that, before being a timely empirical discovery, the “mimetic unconscious” emerged from an untimely current in literary and philosophical modernism. This book traces the psychological, ethical, political, and cultural implications of the realization that the modern ego is born out of the spirit of imitation; it is thus, strictly speaking, not an ego, but what Nietzsche calls, “a phantom of the ego.” The Phantom of the Ego opens up a Nietzschean back door to the unconscious that has mimesis rather than dreams as its via regia, and argues that the modernist account of the “mimetic unconscious” makes our understanding of the psyche new.
Philosophy Beside Itself was first published in 1986. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The writings of French philosopher Jacques Derrida have been the single most powerful influence on critical theory and practice in the United States over the past decade. But with few exceptions American philosophers have taken little or no interest in Derrida's work, and the task of reception, translation, and commentary has been left to literary critics. As a result, Derrida has appeared as a figure already defined by essentially literary critical activities and interests.
Stephen Melville's aim in Philosophy Beside Itself is to insist upon and clarify the distinctions between philosophy and criticism. He argues that until we grasp Derrida's philosophical project as such, we remain fundamentally unable to see his significance for criticism. In terms derived from Stanley Cavell's writings on modernism, Melville develops a case for Derrida as a modernist philosopher, working at once within and against that tradition and discipline.
Melville first places Derrida in a Hegelian context, the structure of which he explores by examining the work of Heidegger, Lacan, and Bataille. With this foundation, he is able to reappraise the project of deconstructive criticism as developed in Paul de Man's Blindness and Insight and further articulated by other Yale critics. Central to this critique is the ambivalent relationship between deconstructive criticism and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Criticism—radical self-criticism—is a central means through which the difficult facts of human community come to recognition, and Melville argues for criticism as an activity intimately bound to the ways in which we do and do not belong in time and in community. Derrida's achievement has been to find a new and necessary way to assert that the task of philosophy is criticism; the task of literary criticism is to assume the burden of that achievement.
Stephen Melville is an assistant professor of English at Syracuse University, and Donald Marshall is a professor of English at the University of Iowa.
This book explores the relationships between four modernist poets and the museums that helped shape their writing. During the early twentieth century, museums were trying to reach a wider audience and used displayed objects to teach that audience about art, culture, and ecology. Writers such as Yeats, Pound, Moore, and Stein borrowed strategies and techniques from museums in order to create literary modernism. Poetry in the Museums of Modernism places these writers' poetry and prose within the context of specific gallery spaces, curatorial practices, displayed objects, and exhibition objectives of the museums that inspired them, exposing the ways in which literary modernism is linked to museums.
Although critics have attested to the importance of the visual arts to literary modernists and have begun to explore the relationships between literary production and social institutions, before now no one has examined the particular institutions in which modernist poets found the artworks, specimens, and other artifacts that inspired their literary innovations. Catherine Paul's book offers the reader a fresh encounter with modernism that will interest literary and art historians, literary theorists, critics, and scholars in cultural studies and museum studies.
Catherine Paul is Associate Professor of English, Clemson University.
The Poetry of the Possible challenges the conventional image of modernism as a socially phobic formation, arguing that modernism’s abstractions and difficulties are ways of imagining unrealized powers of collective self-organization. Establishing a conceptual continuum between modernism and contemporary theorists such as Paulo Virno, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Alain Badiou, Joel Nickels rediscovers modernism’s attempts to document the creative potenza of the multitude.
By examining scenes of collective life in works by William Carlos Williams, Wyndham Lewis, Laura Riding, and Wallace Stevens, Nickels resurrects modernism’s obsession with constituent power: the raw, indeterminate capacity for reciprocal counsel that continually constitutes and reconstitutes established political regimes. In doing so, he reminds us that our own attempts to imagine leaderless networks of collective initiative are not so much breaks with modernist forms of knowledge as restagings of some of modernism’s most radical moments of political speculation.
Setting modernism’s individual and collective models of spontaneity in dialogue with theorists of political spontaneity such as Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, and Theodor Adorno, Nickels retells the story of modernism as the struggle to represent powers of collective self-organization that lie outside established regimes of political representation.
Preface to Modernism
Art Berman University of Illinois Press, 1994 Library of Congress BH301.M54B47 1994 | Dewey Decimal 190
Traces the conceptual lineage of modernism, examining its evolution in Western art and
literature through empiricism, idealism, and romanticism. Berman demonstrates how
modern social, political, and scientific developments -- including capitalism, socialism,
humanism, psychoanalysis, fascism, and modernism itself -- have altered attitudes toward
time, space, self, creativity, the natural world, and community. "Deserves careful study."
For much of our century, pragmatism has enjoyed a charmed life, holding the dominant point of view in American politics, law, education, and social thought in general. After suffering a brief eclipse in the post-World War II period, pragmatism has experienced a revival, especially in literary theory and such areas as poststructuralism and deconstruction. In this critique of pragmatism and neopragmatism, one of our leading intellectual historians traces the attempts of thinkers from William James to Richard Rorty to find a response to the crisis of modernism. John Patrick Diggins analyzes the limitations of pragmatism from a historical perspective and dares to ask whether America's one original contribution to the world of philosophy has actually fulfilled its promise.
"Diggins, an eminent historian of American intellectual life, has written a timely and impressive book charting the rich history of American pragmatism and placing William James, Charles Peirce, John Dewey, George Herbert Mead, Sidney Hook, and Richard Rorty in their times and in the light of contemporary concerns. The book also draws on an alternative set of American thinkers to explore the blind spots in the pragmatic temper."—William Connolly, New York Times Book Review
"An extraordinarily ambitious work of both analysis and synthesis. . . . Diggins's book is rewarding in its thoughtfulness and its nuanced presentation of ideas."—Daniel J. Silver, Commentary
"Diggins's superbly informed book comprises a comprehensive history of American pragmatic thought. . . . It contains expert descriptions of James, John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce, the first generation of American pragmatists. . . . Diggins is just as good on the revival of pragmatism that's taken place over the last 20 years in America. . . . [A] richly intelligent book."—Mark Edmundson, Washington Post Book World
Between the 1890s and the 1920s, mass consumer culture and modernism grew up together, by most accounts as mutual antagonists. This provocative work of cultural history tells a different story. By delving deeply into the publishing and promotional practices of the modernists in Britain and America, however, Mark Morrisson reveals that their engagements with the commercial mass market were in fact extensive and diverse.
The phenomenal successes of new advertising agencies and mass market publishers did elicit what Morrisson calls a "crisis of publicity" for some modernists and for many concerned citizens in both countries. But, as Morrisson demonstrates, the vast influence of these industries on consumers also had a profound and largely overlooked effect upon many modernist authors, artists, and others. By exploring the publicity and audience reception of several of the most important modernist magazines of the period, The Public Face of Modernism shows how modernists, far from lamenting the destruction of meaningful art and public culture by the new mass market, actually displayed optimism about the power of mass-market technologies and strategies to transform and rejuvenate contemporary culture—and, above all, to restore a public function to art.
This reconstruction of the "public face of modernism" offers surprising new perceptions about the class, gender, racial, and even generational tensions within the public culture of the early part of the century, and provides a rare insight into the actual audiences for modernist magazines of the period. Moreover, in new readings of works by James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Wyndham Lewis, Ford Madox Ford, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and many others, Morrisson shows that these contexts also had an impact on the techniques and concerns of the literature itself.
Race, Manhood, and Modernism in America offers the first extended comparison between American writers Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941) and Jean Toomer (1894-1967), examining their engagement with the ideas of “Young American” writers and critics such as Van Wyck Brooks, Paul Rosenfeld, and Waldo Frank. This distinctively modernist school was developing unique visions of how race, gender, and region would be transformed as America entered an age of mass consumerism.
Focusing on Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), and Toomer’s Cane (1923), Race, Manhood, and Modernism in America brings Anderson and Toomer together in a way that allows for a thorough historical and social contextualization that is often missing from assessments of these two literary talents and of modernism as a whole. The book suggests how the gay subcultures of Chicago and the traumatic events of the Great War provoked Anderson’s anxieties over the future of male gender identity, anxieties that are reflected in Winesburg, Ohio. Mark Whalan discusses Anderson’s primitivistic attraction to African American communities and his ambivalent attitudes toward race, attitudes that were embedded in the changing cultural and gendered landscape of mass mechanical production.
The book next examines how Toomer aimed to broaden the racial basis of American cultural nationalism, often inspired by the same cultural critics who had influenced Anderson. He rejected the ethnographically based model of tapping the “buried cultures” of ethnic minorities developed by his mentor, Waldo Frank, and also parted with the “folk” aesthetic endorsed by intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. Instead, Toomer'’ monumental Cane turned to discourses of physical culture, machine technology, and illegitimacy as ways of conceiving of a new type of manhood that refashioned commonplace notions of racial identity.
Taken together, these discussions provide a fresh, interdisciplinary appraisal of the importance of race to “Young America,” suggest provocative new directions for scholarship, and give new insight into some of the most crucial texts of U.S. interracial modernism.
Mark Whalan is a senior lecturer in American literature and culture at the University of Exeter. He is the editor of The Letters of Jean Toomer, 1919-1924, and his articles have appeared in the Journal of American Studies, Modernism/Modernity, Studies in American Fiction, and Modern Fiction Studies.
With the rise of women's suffrage, challenges to marriage and divorce laws, and expanding opportunities for education and employment for women, the early years of the twentieth century were a time of social revolution. Examining British novels written in 1890-1914, Jane Eldridge Miller demonstrates how these social, legal, and economic changes rendered the traditional narratives of romantic desire and marital closure inadequate, forcing Edwardian novelists to counter the limitations and ideological implications of those narratives with innovative strategies. The original and provocative novels that resulted depict the experiences of modern women with unprecedented variety, specificity, and frankness. Rebel Women is a major re-evaluation of Edwardian fiction and a significant contribution to literary history and criticism.
"Miller's is the best account we have, not only of Edwardian women novelists, but of early 20th-century women novelists; the measure of her achievement is that the distinction no longer seems workable." —David Trotter, The London Review of Books
Robert Delaunay was one of the leading artists working in Paris in the early decades of the twentieth century, and his paintings have been admired ever since as among the earliest purely abstract works.
With Resisting Abstraction, the first English-language study of Delaunay in more than thirty years, Gordon Hughes mounts a powerful argument that Delaunay was not only one of the earliest artists to tackle abstraction, but the only artist to present his abstraction as a response to new scientific theories of vision. The colorful, optically driven canvases that Delaunay produced, Hughes shows, set him apart from the more ethereal abstraction of contemporaries like Kandinsky, Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, and František Kupka. In fact, Delaunay emphatically rejected the spiritual motivations and idealism of that group, rooting his work instead in contemporary science and optics. Thus he set the stage not only for the modern artists who would follow, but for the critics who celebrated them as well.
Among postimpressionist painters, Van Gogh, Seurat, Cézanne, and Gauguin produced a remarkable body of work that responded to a cultural and spiritual crisis in the avant-garde world—influences that pushed them toward an increasing reliance on science, literature, and occultism. In Revelation of Modernism, renowned art historian Albert Boime reappraises specific works by these masters from a perspective more appreciative of the individuals’ inner conflicts, offering the art world a new understanding of a period fraught with apocalyptic fears and existential anxieties.
Building on the seminal observations of Sven Lövgren from a half-century ago, Boime rejects popular notions of “art for art’s sake” and rethinks an entire movement to suggest that history, rather than expressive urge, is the driving force that shapes art. He reconsiders familiar masterpieces from a fresh perspective, situating the art in the contexts of history both real and speculative, of contemporary philosophy, and of science to depict modernism as a development that ultimately failed.
Boime expands on what we think we know about these figures and produces startling new revelations about their work. From the political history of Seurat’s Parade de cirque to the astronomical foundations of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, he draws analogies between literary sources and social, personal, and political strategies that have eluded most art historians. He offers a richer and more complex vision of Cézanne, considering the artist as an Old Testament figure in search of the Promised Landscape. And he provides a particularly detailed look at Gauguin—on whom Boime has never previously published—that takes a closer look at the artist’s The Vision after the Sermon and its allusions to Eliphas Lévi’s writings, sheds light on the sources for From whence do we come? and offers new thoughts about Gauguin’s various self-portraits.
Boime’s latest contribution further testifies to his status as one of our most important living art historians. As entertaining as it is eloquent, Revelation of Modernism is a bold and groundbreaking work that should be required reading for all who wish to understand the contradictory origins and development of modernism and its role in history.
The Romance of Commerce and Culture is a lively and provocative history of how art and intellect formed an alliance with consumer capitalism in the mid-twentieth century and put Aspen, Colorado, on the map.
Untangles the intertwined relationship between feminism and modernism through a look at four major figures of the era.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, women's pursuit of freedom and independence earned both the adulation and the scorn of American modernists. Elizabeth Francis traces this unexpected, complex strain in cultural history through the stories of four legendary American figures--Isadora Duncan, Margaret Anderson, Floyd Dell, and Josephine Herbst.
The Secret Treachery of Words begins in the early 1910s, when feminism was an essential part of "the shock of the new" that modernist art and thought introduced to American culture. Francis follows an arc of treacherous repression into the 1920s and 1930s, as feminists broke out of the mold of Victorian culture only to find themselves bound by the historical representation so central to modernism.
Francis's four portraits vividly reveal the dynamic tensions in feminist modernism: in Duncan's performances of the female body, Anderson's manifestos of self-expression and cultural outlawry, Dell's advocacy of the revolutionary potential of sex, and Herbst's insights into cultural and political marginality. Part of a new appreciation of the diversity of American modernism, The Secret Treachery of Words discloses both the centrality and the critical impasses of feminist and modernist engagements with modern culture.
Elizabeth Francis teaches American history at the University of Rhode Island.
Sweet Air rewrites the history of early twentieth-century pop music in modernist terms. Tracking the evolution of popular regional genres such as blues, country, folk, and rockabilly in relation to the growth of industry and consumer culture, Edward P. Comentale shows how this music became a vital means of exploring the new and often overwhelming feelings brought on by modern life. Comentale examines these rural genres as they translated the traumas of local experience--the racial violence of the Delta, the mass exodus from the South, the Dust Bowl of the Texas panhandle--into sonic form. Considering the accessibility of these popular music forms, he asserts the value of music as a source of progressive cultural investment, linking poor, rural performers and audiences to an increasingly vast network of commerce, transportation, and technology.
The tumultuous last decades of British colonialism in India were catalyzed by more than the work of Mahatma Gandhi and violent conflicts. The concurrent upheavals in Western art driven by the advent of modernism provided Indian artists in post-1920 India a powerful tool of colonial resistance. Distinguished art historian Partha Mitter now explores in this brilliantly illustrated study this lesser known facet of Indian art and history.
Taking the 1922 Bauhaus exhibition in Calcutta as the debut of European modernism in India, The Triumph of Modernism probes the intricate interplay of Western modernism and Indian nationalism in the evolution of colonial-era Indian art. Mitter casts his gaze across a myriad of issues, including the emergence of a feminine voice in Indian art, the decline of “oriental art,” and the rise of naturalism and modernism in the 1920s. Nationalist politics also played a large role, from the struggle of artists in reconciling Indian nationalism with imperial patronage of the arts to the relationship between primitivism and modernism in Indian art. An engagingly written study anchored by 150 lush reproductions, The Triumph of Modernism will be essential reading for scholars of art, British studies, and Indian history.
From its dissonant musics to its surrealist spectacles (the urinal is a violin!), Modernist art often seems to give more frustration than pleasure to its audience. In Untwisting the Serpent, Daniel Albright shows that this perception arises partly because we usually consider each art form in isolation, even though many of the most important artistic experiments of the Modernists were collaborations involving several media—Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is a ballet, Gertrude Stein's Four Saints in Three Acts is an opera, and Pablo Picasso turned his cubist paintings into costumes for Parade.
Focusing on collaborations with a musical component, Albright views these works as either figures of dissonance that try to retain the distinctness of their various media (e.g. Guillaume Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tirésias) or figures of consonance that try to lose themselves in some total effect (e.g. Arnold Schoenberg's Erwartung). In so doing he offers a fresh picture of Modernism, and provides a compelling model for the analysis of all artistic collaborations.
Untwisting the Serpent is the recipient of the 2001 Susanne M. Glasscock Humanities Book Prize for Interdisciplinary Scholarship of the Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M University.
Digital culture has occasioned a seismic shift in the discourse around contagion, transmission, and viral circulation. Yet theater, in the cultural imagination, has always been contagious. Viral Performance proposes the concept of the viral as an essential means of understanding socially engaged and transmedial performance practices since the mid-twentieth century. Its chapters rethink the Living Theatre’s Artaudian revolution through the lens of affect theory, bring fresh attention to General Idea’s media-savvy performances of the 1970s, explore the digital-age provocations of Franco and Eva Mattes and Critical Art Ensemble, and survey the dramaturgies and political stakes of global theatrical networks.
Viral performance practices testify to the age-old—and ever renewed—instinct that when people gather, something spreads. Performance, an art form requiring and relying on live contact, renders such spreading visible, raises its stakes, and encodes it in theatrical form. The artists explored here rarely disseminate their ideas or gestures as directly as a viral marketer or a political movement would; rather, they undermine simplified forms of contagion while holding dialogue with the philosophical and popular discourses, old and new, that have surrounded viral culture.
Viral Performance argues that the concept of the viral is historically deeper than immediate associations with the contemporary digital landscape might suggest, and far more intimately linked to live performance
Wittgenstein and Modernism
Edited by Michael LeMahieu and Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé University of Chicago Press, 2016 Library of Congress B3376.W564W54325 2016 | Dewey Decimal 192
Ludwig Wittgenstein famously declared that philosophy “ought really to be written only as a form of poetry,” and he even described the Tractatus as “philosophical and, at the same time, literary.” But few books have really followed up on these claims, and fewer still have focused on their relation to the special literary and artistic period in which Wittgenstein worked. This book offers the first collection to address the rich, vexed, and often contradictory relationship between modernism—the twentieth century’s predominant cultural and artistic movement—and Wittgenstein, one of its preeminent and most enduring philosophers. In doing so it offers rich new understandings of both.
Michael LeMahieu Karen Zumhagen-Yekplé bring together scholars in both twentieth-century philosophy and modern literary studies to put Wittgenstein into dialogue with some of modernism’s most iconic figures, including Samuel Beckett, Saul Bellow, Walter Benjamin, Henry James, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Adolf Loos, Robert Musil, Wallace Stevens, and Virginia Woolf. The contributors touch on two important aspects of Wittgenstein’s work and modernism itself: form and medium. They discuss issues ranging from Wittgenstein and poetics to his use of numbered propositions in the Tractatus as a virtuoso performance of modernist form; from Wittgenstein’s persistence metaphoric use of religion, music, and photography to an exploration of how he and Henry James both negotiated the relationship between the aesthetic and the ethical.
Covering many other fascinating intersections of the philosopher and the arts, this book offers an important bridge across the disciplinary divides that have kept us from a fuller picture of both Wittgenstein and the larger intellectual and cultural movement of which he was a part.