and continuous shift
of external and internal stimuli’ noted by Simmel in his 1903 essay ‘The
Metropolis and Mental Life’.5 Whereas Nordau finds the fragmentation
Cf. Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane, Modernism: A Guide to European
Literature, 1880–1930 (Sussex: Harvester, 1978), 47; Douwe Fokkema and Elrud Ibsch,
Modernist Conjectures: A Mainstream in European Literature, 1910–1940 (London: C.
Hurst & Company, 1987), 43.
Max Nordau, Degeneration (1892) (New York: H. Fertig, 1968 [1895, 1892]), 536;
cited in Richard Lehan, The City in Literature: An
England and France, and has different but related manifestations in other countries. Towards the latter half of the nineteenth century a new aesthetic, predominantly European in its earlier incarnations, reacts against Realism and produces what is now collectively termed ‘modernism’. What next?
Inevitably, perhaps, modernism in turn becomes superseded. Again, it depends from which country you view these events, but in general it is thought that modernism is ‘exhausted’ by the 1930s, and that decade sees the ‘high modernism’ of works like Finnegans Wake (1939) as a
evolving genre in ‘The City of Russian Modernist Fiction’, in Malcolm Bradbury and
James McFarlane (eds), Modernism: A Guide to European Literature, 1880–1930 (Sussex:
Harvester, 1978), 467–80. Cf. David Weimer, The City as Metaphor (New York: Random
House, 1966); Jean-Yves Tadié, Le roman au XXe siècle (Paris: Belfond, 1990), especially
Chapter IV, ‘Roman de la ville, ville du roman’; Anne-Marie Quint (ed.), La Ville dans
l’histoire et dans l’imaginaire (Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1996); David
Trotter, Paranoid Modernism (New York/London: Oxford University
This book is about Ford Madox Ford, a hero of the modernist literary revolution. Ford is a fascinating and fundamental figure of the time; not only because, as a friend and critic of Ezra Pound and Joseph Conrad, editor of the English Review and author of The Good Soldier, he shaped the development of literary modernism. But, as the grandson of Ford Madox Brown and son of a German music critic, he also manifested formative links with mainland European culture and the visual arts. In Ford there is the chance to explore continuity in artistic life at the turn of the last century, as well as the more commonly identified pattern of crisis in the time. The argument throughout the book is that modernism possesses more than one face. Setting Ford in his cultural and historical context, the opening chapter debates the concept of fragmentation in modernism; later chapters discuss the notion of the personal narrative, and war writing. Ford's literary technique is studied comparatively and plot summaries of his major books (The Good Soldier and Parade's End) are provided, as is a brief biography.
Eccentric creative consciousness is marked by the many contradictions inherent in being cast on the margins of paradoxically marginocentric geo-cultural sites. This book seeks to bring greater clarity to discrete urbane architectonics of modernist literature within a distended Western (including Slavic and Latin American) tradition. It traces different slants of the rational plane in modernist fictions by rupturing, deconstructing and reconstructing consciousness along differently temporalized and spatialized axes respectively aligned with concentric and eccentric cultural construction. The book redefines some of the dimensions, dynamics, creative capacities and critical contributions of discrete literary modernisms - concentric, but especially, eccentric. A distinction is made between pathologically memoried and mad (particularly manic and paranoid schizophrenic) modes of cultural consciousness, concentrated in reflexive citytexts respectively located at the centre of European modernism. The book re-examines the development of literal and literary landscapes underpinning paranoid schizophrenic constructions of eccentric consciousness in Nikolai Gogol's and Fyodor Dostoevsky's Petersburg tales and Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis's Rio narratives. It reconsiders these works as critical and creative responses to urbane European genres as well as earlier strains of Russian and Brazilian literary and artistic representation. The book focuses on eccentric consciousnesses framing the hallucinated cities drawn by writers including Andrei Bely, Mario de Andrade, Mikhail Bulgakov, Osman Lins, Clarice Lispector and Liudmila Petrushevskaya.
At a time when monolingualist claims for the importance of ‘speaking English’ to the national order continue louder than ever, even as language diversity is increasingly part of contemporary British life, literature becomes a space to consider the terms of linguistic belonging. Bad English examines writers including Tom Leonard, James Kelman, Suhayl Saadi, Raman Mundair, Daljit Nagra, Xiaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, and Caroline Bergvall, who engage multilingually, experimentally, playfully, and ambivalently with English’s power. Considering their invented vernaculars and mixed idioms, their dramatised scenes of languaging – languages learned or lost, acts of translation, scenes of speaking, the exposure and racialised visibility of accent – it argues for a growing field of contemporary literature in Britain pre-eminently concerned with language’s power dynamics, its aesthetic potentialities, and its prosthetic strangeness. Drawing on insights from applied linguistics and translation studies as well as literary scholarship, Bad English explores contemporary arguments about language in Britain – in debates about citizenship or education, in the media or on Twitter, in Home Office policy and asylum legislation – as well as the ways they are taken up in literature. It uncovers both an antagonistic and a productive interplay between language politics and literary form, tracing writers’ articulation of linguistic alienation and ambivalence, as well as the productivity and making-new of radical language practices. Doing so, it refutes the view that language difference and language politics are somehow irrelevant to contemporary Britain and instead argues for their constitutive centrality to the work of novelists and poets whose inside/outside relationship to English in its institutionalised forms is the generative force of their writing.
In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.
Responding to the resurgence of verbatim theatre that emerged in Britain, Australia, the United States and other parts of the world in the early 1990s, this book offers one of the first sustained, critical engagements with contemporary verbatim, documentary and testimonial dramaturgies. Offering a new reading of the history of the documentary and verbatim theatre form, the book relocates verbatim and testimonial theatre away from discourses of the real and representations of reality and instead argues that these dramaturgical approaches are better understood as engagements with forms of truth-telling and witnessing. Examining a range of verbatim and testimonial plays from different parts of the world, the book develops new ways of understanding the performance of testimony and considers how dramaturgical theatre can bear witness to real events and individual and communal injustice through the re-enactment of personal testimony. Through its interrogation of different dramaturgical engagements with acts of witnessing, the book identifies certain forms of testimonial theatre that move beyond psychoanalytical accounts of trauma and reimagine testimony and witnessing as part of a decolonised project that looks beyond event-based trauma, addressing instead the experience of suffering wrought by racism and other forms of social injustice.
passage of the modern movement to
that of Attila, sweeping across Europe.23 It had left many of its key
figures grasping at fragments. Writing in 1918, Ford tried to reassemble the ‘fragments’ that were coming into his mind, ‘as in a cubist
picture’, in narrative.24 His most famous narrator struggles to give an
‘all-round impression’ as he tortuously and retrospectively constructs
multiple examples of the ‘minutest fragment’ of the truth.25 Woolf,
too, in Orlando, tries to work with the ‘thousand odd, disconnected
fragments’ thrown up by
placing O’Faoláin and his generation at
a critical disadvantage, caught between the vice of James Joyce and Samuel
Beckett abroad and domineered by W.B. Yeats at home. The writers of The
Bell had their faults, but they also had a difficult literary landscape to navigate
in post-independence Ireland.
Internationalist or European has long been a synonym for modernist within
literary criticism, especially when comparing Irish writing to some of the giants
of high modernism, such as T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Joyce or Ezra Pound.
But in doing so the force of critical