Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Modernism, Media, and Propaganda

Modernism, Media, and Propaganda: British Narrative from 1900 to 1945

MARK WOLLAEGER
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 368
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7spmd
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Modernism, Media, and Propaganda
    Book Description:

    Though often defined as having opposite aims, means, and effects, modernism and modern propaganda developed at the same time and influenced each other in surprising ways. The professional propagandist emerged as one kind of information specialist, the modernist writer as another. Britain was particularly important to this double history. By secretly hiring well-known writers and intellectuals to write for the government and by exploiting their control of new global information systems, the British in World War I invented a new template for the manipulation of information that remains with us to this day. Making a persuasive case for the importance of understanding modernism in the context of the history of modern propaganda,Modernism, Media, and Propagandaalso helps explain the origins of today's highly propagandized world.

    Modernism, Media, and Propagandaintegrates new archival research with fresh interpretations of British fiction and film to provide a comprehensive cultural history of the relationship between modernism and propaganda in Britain during the first half of the twentieth century. From works by Joseph Conrad to propaganda films by Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles, Mark Wollaeger traces the transition from literary to cinematic propaganda while offering compelling close readings of major fiction by Virginia Woolf, Ford Madox Ford, and James Joyce.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2862-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xxii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxiii-xxviii)
  6. INTRODUCTION MODERNISM AND THE INFORMATION-PROPAGANDA MATRIX
    (pp. 1-37)

    Common sense, that mysterious repository of unarticulated assumptions, may suggest that modernism and propaganda have little to do with each other. The case of Ford Madox Ford indicates otherwise. Ford is central to the larger argument of this book (and therefore receives extended treatment in chapter 3) because his passionate engagement with both literary aesthetics and the contemporary media environment reveals the sense in which modernism and propaganda are two sides of the same coin of modernity. Setting out to define literary impressionism (which is to say, modernism) early in 1914, Ford Proclaimed that an impressionist “must not write propaganda.”¹...

  7. Chapter One FROM CONRAD TO HITCHCOCK: MODERNISM, FILM, AND THE ART OF PROPAGANDA
    (pp. 38-70)

    When conrad wroteThe Secret Agentin 1907, literature as an institution still considered itself England’s dominant medium of expression. C.F.G. Masterman, man of letters and former Liberal MP, endorsed that view seven years later: charged with designing a propaganda campaign from the ground up in early September 1914, Masterman summoned to his office at Wellington House twenty-five of England’s most famous writers, including J. M. Barrie, Arnold Bennett, Robert Bridges, G. K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, George Trevelyan, H. G. Wells, and Israel Zangwill. Where else would Masterman have turned? The Edwardian world of letters...

  8. Chapter Two THE WOOLFS, PICTURE POSTCARDS, AND THE PROPAGANDA OF EVERYDAY LIFE
    (pp. 71-127)

    Virginia woolf was inclined to view modernism as the antithesis of propaganda, in part owing to modernism’s rejection of moralizing narrators, but also because she shared the common view (belied by Ford Madox Ford) that where propaganda depends on simplicity, art is complex.¹ Hence her reflections inThree Guineason the potential for stagingAntigoneas propaganda. Although Antigone could be transformed into suffrage activist Emmeline Pankhurst and Creon into Hitler or Mussolini, the appropriation is bound to fail because Sophocles’ characters “suggest too much”: “if we use art to propagate political opinions, we must force the artist to clip...

  9. Chapter Three IMPRESSIONISM AND PROPAGANDA: FORD’S WELLINGTON HOUSE BOOKS AND THE GOOD SOLDIER
    (pp. 128-163)

    Like virginia woolf, Ford Madox Ford considered the didacticism of Victorian literature a form of propaganda. In this broad sense, most artists who aspired to become modern identified the newness of their enterprise with a release from Victorianism as cultural propaganda. For Ford, the authorial thumb was too often on the scales, shaping our evaluation of characters; for Woolf, comedy, tragedy, and plot itself were too laden with the past and its blinkered modes of thought and being. But once we look past this broadly shared need to stigmatize the immediate past, modernists negotiated the contested terrain between art and...

  10. Chapter Four JOYCE AND THE LIMITS OF POLITICAL PROPAGANDA
    (pp. 164-216)

    Turning from Ford Madox Ford to James Joyce, we move from an outsider desperate to become an insider to a voluntary exile who needed to feel like an outsider. Joyce was a connoisseur of betrayal, and when he could not find a genuine betrayer, he was always ready to invent one. Of course, Irish history provided plenty of material to work with, most notably for Joyce the story of Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish parliamentary leader whose career was destroyed when the Catholic Church in Ireland denounced him for adultery and key political allies abandoned him. From an early age...

  11. Chapter Five FROM THE THIRTIES TO WORLD WAR II: NEGOTIATING MODERNISM AND PROPAGANDA IN HITCHCOCK AND WELLES
    (pp. 217-260)

    If bloom has his eye on posters inUlysses, Joyce, like most moderns, was watching film. Joyce had invested in the movies years earlier, founding Dublin’s first dedicated cinema, the Volta, in December 1909. Although the Volta failed seven months later—Joyce was never the canny businessman Bloom was—Joyce’s instincts had been correct. A 1922 document from the Irish Department of Justice lists thirty-seven Dublin cinemas that were cited for exhibiting movies relating to military operations in Ireland without passing them by the censor.¹ Though England had been slow off the mark in 1914, by this time government officials...

  12. CODA
    (pp. 261-268)

    History always affords analogies, but current events during the composition of this book so often seemed torn from the tangle of my drafts that a more superstitious person might have been tempted to stop writing. Who knew that the “special relationship” between the United States and Britain in the twenty-first century would include resurrecting the play book devised by C.F.G. Masterman for Wellington House’s clandestine propaganda program during World War I?

    Masterman let the genie out of the bottle in 1914 with the undeniably brilliant idea of combating overt German propaganda with British propaganda covertly funded by the government. Highly...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 269-322)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 323-335)