English Literature

Topics: Modernism, Modernist literature, Postmodernism Pages: 50 (18644 words) Published: March 28, 2013
Modernism and
Modernism and Postmodernism
andrzej gasiorek and peter boxall
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This chapter deals with work published in the field of modernism and postmodernism in 2006 and is divided into two sections: 1. Modernism; 2. Postmodernism.

1. Modernism
In the course of the last three years, our reading of published work on modernism and postmodernism has thrown up various recurring issues. It would be exaggerating the case to suggest that there is a homogeneity of concerns here, or that some kind of critical ‘dominant’ has emerged during this short period, but it’s clear that certain preoccupations and methodological/theoretical approaches have greater currency than others. In this, our final year of reviewing these linked research fields, we want not only to focus on the year’s work in 2006 but also to highlight what seem to us to have been the key over-riding concerns to have emerged during the last three years. It goes without saying that our remarks aren’t intended to be definitive; we make no pretence to have covered everything that’s been published (and of course it should be noted that the year’s work covers monographs, not articles in academic journals) but we hope to have identified at least some of the most absorbing trends. Two really obvious features of recent research in the field of modernism stand out: the first is its concern with material practices; the second is its commitment to seeing modernism as part of a wide discursive field. These two preoccupations frequently go together and inform each other. The days in which modernism was viewed primarily in aesthetic terms (the legacy of the New Critics and Scrutineers looming large) really are long gone. Now, everybody is super-keen to show how much they have learned from cultural studies, the New Historicism, and post-structuralism(s), though it’s the first two of these approaches that have had far the greatest influence. This means Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory, 16 ß The English Association (2008) All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org doi:10.1093/ywcct/mbn002

Modernism and Postmodernism | 51 that there is an attentiveness to the history of the book; to the institutions through which modernism was disseminated and mediated; to the role of literary agents, publishing houses, advertisers, and book reviewers; to the public spaces in which writers forged alliances and fought cultural battles; to the ways in which emerging writers and artists fashioned careers for themselves by engaging with literary markets; and to the history of ‘little magazines’, those early conduits of so much modernist work. At the same time, because critics see modernism as inseparable from a wider discursive economy, they also relate it to the numerous writing practices within which—and often against which—it defined itself: literary essays, book reviews, newspaper articles, popular magazine pieces, propaganda work, and all writing that could be seen more generally as ‘lowbrow’ or ‘middlebrow’. The focus is on the ways that earlier accounts of modernism misread it because their obsession with its aesthetic innovations and artistic heroism led them to ignore the socio-cultural matrices in which and through which it emerged. That said, a fascinating feature of this year’s work on modernism is a renewed interest in the aesthetic. But more on that later. It is easy enough to illustrate the general point we have been making so far. The books we are going to discuss all make it themselves in their opening statements. Of the various monographs published in 2006, we propose to concentrate on the following: Patricia E. Chu, Race, Nationalism and the State in British and American Modernism; Patrick Collier, Modernism on Fleet Street; Celia Marshik, British Modernism and Censorship; David Miller and Richard Price, eds, British Poetry Magazines,...

Bibliography: of ‘Little Magazines’. The British Library and Oak Knoll Press. [2006]. Olson, Gary A and Lynn Worsham. Postmodern Sophistry: Stanley Fish and the Critical Enterprise. State University of New York. [2004]. Potter, Rachel. Modernism and Democracy: Literary Culture, 1900–1930. Oxford University Press. [2006]. Retort (a Bay Area Collective; Iain Boal, T.J. Clark, Joseph Matthews and Michael Watts), ‘Afflicted Powers: The State, the Spectacle and September 11’. New Left Review 27[May/June 2007]. Retort, Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War. Verso. [2005].
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90 | Modernism and Postmodernism
Sanders, Mark. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak: Live Theory. Continuum. [2006]. Scholes, Robert. Paradoxy of Modernism. Yale University Press. [2006]. Vitz, Paul and Susan Feltch. The Self: Beyond the Postmodern Crisis. ISI Books. [2006]. Wollaeger, Mark. Modernism, Media, and Propaganda: British Narrative From 1900 to 1945. Princeton University Press. [2006]. ˇˇ Zizek, Slavoj. The Fright of Real Tears: Krzystof Kieslowski Between Theory and PostTheory. BFI. [1999]. ˇ izek, Slavoj. The Universal Exception. Continuum. [2006]; second edition [2007], Zˇ edited by Rex Butler and Scott Stephens. ˇ izek, Slavoj. Welcome to the Desert of the Real: Five Essays on September 11 and Zˇ Related Dates. Verso. [2002].
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