DissB 7969

Topics: Modernism, Modernist literature, Modern art Pages: 319 (149556 words) Published: December 8, 2014
THE CRISIS OF MODERNITY:
CULTURE, NATURE, AND THE MODERNIST
YEARNING FOR AUTHENTICITY

Dissertation zur Erlangung der Würde
einer Doktorin der Philosophie

vorgelegt der Philosophisch-Historischen Fakultät
der Universität Basel
und
der Faculté des Lettres, Langues et Sciences Humaines
der Universität Orléans

von
Ann-Catherine Nabholz
von
Zürich

Basel 2007

i

Genehmigt von der Philosophisch-Historischen Fakultät der Universität Basel, auf Antrag von Prof. Dr. Hartwig Isernhagen (Universität Basel), Prof. Dr. Thomas Pughe (Universität Orléans), Prof. Dr. Yves-Charles Grandjeat (Universität Brodeaux III) und Prof. Dr. Werner Brönnimann (Universität St. Gallen).

Basel, den 6. Juli 2004

ii

Die Dekanin
Prof. Dr. Annelies Häcki Buhofer.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The research and writing of this study were assisted by the generous financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Uarda Frutiger Foundation. For their trusting generosity, I am very grateful. Their fellowships took me to the University of Oregon, Eugene, where I was warmly welcomed by a remarkable community of "green" scholars. I owe a debt of gratitude to Prof. Louise Westling, who gave me valuable suggestions, encouragement and guidance. For conversation and companionship I must thank the members of the Mesa Verde (in- and outdoors) research group and Prof. George Wickes. For supporting my work, I would like to thank the James Fenimore Cooper Foundation. The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities favoured me with a fellowship making possible the collaboration between the University of Basel and the University of Orléans. For their financial support, I am grateful. I am grateful also to the careful readings and the valuable reactions Prof. Thomas Pughe has given to various drafts of this study. Special thanks are due also to Prof. Hartwig Isernhagen, who has provided crucial support, advocacy and literary advice. I am also deeply indebted to my family for support and encouragement beyond description. Finally, I want to thank Xavier, whose varied contributions and generosity helped me along the pathways of research.

iii

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION

3

1. MODERNITY

6

1.1. Modernism: Di- and Convergences
1.1.1. Modernity and Crisis

6
8

1.1.2. Formalism as a Redemption of the Crisis of Modernity

13

1.1.3. A Pathology of Modernity

20

1.1.4. "Cancer and Delirium": Henry Miller's Diagnosis of Modernity

22

1.1.5. Henry Miller's Response to the Modernist "Universe of Death"

26

1.1.6. "The English Death": Lawrence Durrell's Diagnosis of Modernity

32

1.2. Ecocriticism: An Environmental Response to Modernity
1.2.1. Ecocriticism: Rethinking Cultural Conceptions of the Nonhuman World

37
41

2.MODERN CULTURE'S DUALISTIC CONCEPTIONS OF THE PHYSICAL
WORLD

51

2.1. Metropolis: Modern Imaginations of Urban Environments

51

2.2. Miller and Durrell's Images of the Urban Waste Land

60

2.2.1. Paris versus New York

67

2.2.2. Diseased Habitats

71

2.3. Seasonal Dysfunctions and Circular Time

80

2.3.1. Oriental Time and Western Concepts of Linearity

87

2.3.2. Mechanical Time and Social Control

98

2.4. Rationality and Self-Analysis

104

2.4.1. Enlightenment

107

2.4.2. The Dissected Organism

113

3. BACK TO NATURE

123

3.1. Nature as Antithesis of Culture

123

3.2. 'Simulacra of Life'

128

3.3. 'Nature's Flawed Mirror': Rhetorical and Representational Restrictions

133

3.3.1. From Universal Identity to Difference
3.4. Pastoral Instances in The Black Book: England, Corfu, Tibet 3.4.1. Tarquin's Pastoral Ideals

146
157
159
1

3.4.2. Corfu: Arcadia or Artifice?

163

3.4.3. Tibet

169

3.5. Miller's American Pastoral

170

3.5.1. An Anti-Pastoral Critique of the American Environmental Imagination

173

3.5.2. "A sort of divine stuttering"

175

3.5.3. An Urban Pastoral

179...

References: language is crystallized insofar as "the genesis of the cosmos already contains highly
configured and densely conjunctive elements that at least portend logos" (1998:5).
world it seems to be trying to say something. (1993:238)
Clearly, these assumptions suggest that an authentic experience of primordial nature cannot
Irigaray describes this model as follows: "L 'indit ou l 'indicible d 'un rapport de l 'homme à une nature
échappant à son logos" (1983:129).
vie? Un autre vivant? Ne s 'est-il pas exercé, jusqu 'à présent, sur un mode d 'appropriation captatrice plutôt que
sur celui d 'un échange—et de vie?"(1983:141).
imitation of nature because "appearing nature wants silence" (1997:69). Not surprisingly then,
he claims that "[a]s indeterminate, as antithetical to definitions, natural beauty is indefinable"
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