Is it artistically strong? Is it good as a picture? There was a time when I might have written in this way with a declared social object. That is all gone by. I have no longer a spark of social enthusiasm. Art is all I now care for, and as art I wish my work to be judged. (Gissing, 1930 , The Unclassed )
As a method, realism is a complete failure. (Oscar Wilde, 1891, ‘The Decay of Lying’)
From Realism to modernism
The group of writers that we have focused on in previous chapters regarded themselves as living in a new age which needed a new kind of
This book consists of 50 categories arranged in alphabetical order centred on film modernism. Each category, though autonomous, interacts, intersects, juxtaposes with the others, entering into a dialogue with them and in so doing creates connections, illuminations, associations and rhymes which may not have arisen in a more conventional framework. The categories refer to particular films and directors that raise questions related to modernism, and, inevitably thereby to classicism. The book is more in the way of questions and speculations than answers and conclusions. Its intention is to stimulate not simply by the substance of what is said, but by the way it is said and structured. Most attention is given to the works of Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, João César Monteiro, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nicholas Ray, Alain Resnais, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Orson Welles. The apparent arbitrary order and openness of the book, based as it is on the alphabet is indebted to Jean-Luc Godard’s interrogation of History and of film history especially true in his stunning Histoire(s) du cinema.
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.
Modernisms: ‘good design’ and ‘bad design’
Osbert Lancaster, cartoonist and satirist of the suburbs, provided rich
examples of two very different ‘modern’ tendencies in the design of the
interwar home: the ‘Functional’ and the ‘Modernistic’. These images
appeared in his Homes Sweet Homes (1939), a satirical look into the history
of the interior of the British house.1
In ‘Functional’ (Figure 3.1) a weedy, pipe-smoking, intellectual man
in a scratchy tweed jacket, book in hand, is depicted all alone, perched
uncomfortably on a stool by Finnish Modernist designer
Ralph Hotere and ‘New Commonwealth Internationalism’
Māori artists is productive. Through a focus on the work and
travel of artist Ralph Hotere, the chapter illustrates the
possibilities of indigenous modernism – and of creativity
more broadly – as a decolonising process within settler
societies. It also highlights the need to understand decolonisation
through a transnational lens. First, an approach that moves beyond
Nietzsche was a scandal, a revelation, an explosive intellectual force. Soon after he ceased to write, the German philosopher was hailed widely as a leading emissary of ‘the modern’, but his message of cultural transformation resonated nowhere more powerfully than in Ireland. Nietzsche and Irish modernism traces the circulation of the philosopher’s ideas in the work of Irish writers and, more broadly, the Irish public sphere during the early decades of the twentieth century. George Bernard Shaw styled himself an ‘English (or Irish) Nietzsche’, as he developed a ‘drama of ideas’ to advance his radical political philosophy. W.B. Yeats adopted an ethos of ‘proud hard gift giving joyousness’ from Nietzsche as he sought to establish a national theatre in Ireland. James Joyce playfully, and repeatedly, evoked the philosopher’s ideas in his fiction, as the novelist surveyed the cultural resources that might remake the conscience of his compatriots. Before long, Irish priests, politicians, and propagandists also summoned the name of the German philosopher as they addressed a tumultuous period of Home Rule agitation, world war, revolution, civil war, and state building. His thought would ultimately come to play a role in imagining a different future for both postcolonial Ireland and postwar Europe. Recounting this cultural history in meticulous detail, the study demonstrates how Nietzsche provided Irish culture with the potential for new, disruptive modes of thinking and writing, which spoke to both local political circumstances and the predicaments of modernity at large.
1 Beyond political modernism
2 The key political modernist auteur: Jean-Luc Godard with
Eddie Constantine and Anna Karina on the set of Alphaville (1965)
n an important article written in 1972, Peter Wollen set forth
the stakes of a counter-cinema that could be opposed to what he
referred to as orthodox cinema (Wollen 1985). He proceeded to
map the ‘seven deadly sins’ of orthodox cinema in order to oppose
them directly to the ‘seven cardinal virtues’ of counter-cinema. The
opposition declared here was one that, in time, became known as
the discourse of
Modernism and postmodernism
‘Modernism’ is a term usually reserved for a set of movements in
the arts that began in the latter part of the nineteenth century
in Europe, gained a particular momentum in the early years of
the twentieth century and continued to flourish until at least the
middle of the twentieth century, the periodisation being dependent on when one believes that a new set of aesthetic strategies and
products, dubbed postmodernist, began. As we will see, for many
commentators postmodernism in the arts was, by and large, a continuation of modernism
Modernism and postmodernism
O gentlemen, the time of life is short!
If life did ride upon a dial’s point,
Still ending at the arrival of an hour.
And if we live, we live to tread on kings.
William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1 5.2.82–7.
So we should not expect Foucault to give us a philosophical theory that
deploys … notions. Still, philosophy is more than theories.
‘Foucault and Epistemology’ by Richard Rorty in David Couzens Hoy
(ed.), Foucault: A Critical Reader1
Foucault: the catcher in the modern rye
When discussing modernity, one
1913: The Year of French Modernism is the first book to respond to two deceptively simple questions: “What constituted modernism in France?” and “What is the place of France on the map of global modernism?” Taking its cue from the seminal year 1913, an annus mirabilis for French modernism with the publication of Du côté de chez Swann, Alcools, La Prose du Transsibérien, among others, the book captures a snapshot of vibrant creativity in France and a crucial moment for the quickly emerging modernism throughout the world. While studies on modernism have turned increasingly toward neglected, peripheral, national traditions in order to illuminate modernism as a global phenomenon, this book offers a view of one of modernism’s central occurrences, the French. 1913: The Year of French Modernism shows that even ostensibly central manifestations of modernism remain to be explored, demonstrates how the global is embedded in the regional, and finally reconstructs and rethinks the centrality of France for modernism as well as the meaning of centrality all together for a global phenomenon. Essays from specialists on works of literature, art, photography, and cinema, that were created or made public on and around 1913 in France outline the physiognomy of French modernism: its protagonists, strategies, and genres, its dynamics, themes, and legacies.