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Mapping Literary Modernism

Mapping Literary Modernism

Ricardo J. Quinones
Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 314
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  • Book Info
    Mapping Literary Modernism
    Book Description:

    Professor Quinones describes significant stages in the development of literary Modernism, redefining the period as extending from about 1900 to 1940, and beyond, and not as an entity centered on the 1920s.

    Originally published in 1985.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5483-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    As a literary movement and broad cultural force, Modernism has made its mark and has had its impact. It has entered into history and needs now to be discussed with the same comprehensive scope and yet with the same historical imagination that we might muster in discussing the Renaissance or Romanticism. Certainly, the time is long past when a distinguished literary historian (who here shall be nameless) could refer to the use of the term “modernism” as pretentious.¹ Modernism has become, in that celebrated Modernist phrase, “a climate of opinion,” and now permeates the everyday life and common patois of...

  5. CHAPTER I The Collapse of Historical Values
    (pp. 21-39)

    Two questions bring into preliminary focus some of the more basic issues motivating this study. If we date the commencement of Modernist activity from about 1900, or even if we push back the initiating conditions to 1890 and include that decade of ferment, we must reflect that either date locates a crucial contradiction. At those times European civilization and culture exercised a practically world-wide hegemony. “European civilization overshadowed the earth.”¹ “Europe dominated the world politically as well as economically.”² Yet, at that very time, two remarkable works of literature appeared, the forerunners of many more, that clearly showed strong dissatisfaction...

  6. CHAPTER II The Family, the Machine and the Paradox of Time
    (pp. 40-86)

    The dominant experience at the Modernist point of departure is one of a powerful drive and energy, a persistent will and a prevalent code all coming to an end. There are large and dramatic types who exemplify this dissolution—large and dramatic because of the fullness of their relationships (think of Thomas Buddenbrook and Gerald Crich)—and they will be discussed at length later in this chapter. But there are also miniature portraits (certainly not minor),Kurtz in The Heart of Darkness,Aschenbach inDeath in Venice,Gabriel Conroy inThe Dead,Prufrock and Mauberley in Eliot’s and Pound’s poems...

  7. CHAPTER III Transformations
    (pp. 87-119)

    The world we have described in the preceding sections indicated nothing so much as a need for escape. Upon reading Schopenhauer’s passionate discourse on the indestructibility of the soul, Thomas Buddenbrook experienced a great sense of liberation (short-lived though it was destined to be): “The walls of his native town, in which he had willfully and consciously shut himself up, opened out; they opened and disclosed to his view the entire world. . . .” (514/500) Ortega has described the feeling that occurs when we escape the narrow limits that circumstances (or our own wills) have imposed upon us: “We...

  8. CHAPTER IV The Modernist Sensibility
    (pp. 120-163)

    This description of the complex central consciousness, of its methods and of its resources, suggests concerns far different from those of Romanticism. In large points or in small, a character like Leopold Bloom, a poem likeThe Waste Land,the network of crossing bands of relationships, the close identification with modern physics and theories of relativity, the reflexiveness (spatialization, dehumanization, introversion) of the Modernist poem or novel—all represent major divergences from Romantic interests. How wrong it is for Northrop Frye to conclude (in an otherwise highly useful essay): “Anti-Romanticism . . . had no resources for becoming anything more...

  9. CHAPTER V “The Songs That I Sing”
    (pp. 164-191)

    If today we can now recognize the need and even the desirability of a protean consciousness, and can gauge the supple strength supporting its apparent indecisiveness, its true suitability and responsiveness to the complexities of the modern world, it is because we first had in the literature of Modernism, particularly in what I call its complex central consciousness, a full picture of the virtues (as well as some of the vices) of this consciousness revealed in the new type of literary figure. Indeed, judging from some of the changes in attitudes that were brought about by Modernism (and that were...

  10. CHAPTER VI Three Major Works
    (pp. 192-221)

    In the previous chapter we have seen how the argument of genetic development, one of the main avenues of approach in this study, has had distinct critical yield. This argument serves a similar usefulness when we approach one of the major historical problems of Modernism: namely, should discussions of Modernism terminate with those great years of the 1920s, or is indeed the full course of Modernism only realized when the enormous and intriguing works of the thirties are considered? To my mind, as I have already indicated, one of the few, yet major, defects of the excellent anthology of essays...

  11. CHAPTER VII The Bite of Time
    (pp. 222-245)

    Wyndham Lewis’sTime and Western Man,while a useful compendium of quotation and descriptively accurate as to the prevalence of a new conception of time in early twentiethcentury thought and literature, hardly does justice to that theme’s full development and importance in Modernism. Joyce’s own reaction to his inclusion in that gallery of malefactors is instructive: grant Lewis all his points, does it cover more than ten per cent of Joyce’s material? Like many hardheaded, nononsense critics, Lewis had the habit of substituting simple statement for a reasoned explanation of his evaluations. For instance, it is not enough to condemn...

  12. CONCLUSION: Purviews and Purposes
    (pp. 246-258)

    One can best summarize the nature and contributions of Modernism by recalling the charges made against that movement (and which were alluded to frequently in the course of this study). Not unexpectedly, given the complex nature of Modernism, the accusations are contradictory. The first kind of charge would deny any substantial character or value-change to Modernism (here we think of Frye— “post-Romanticism,” or Hough—Modernism only wrought stylistic changes), or, if a character is allowed Modernism, that character is marked by negativity and ephemerality. The second, and to my mind quite interesting kind of criticism, partly because the response it...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 259-296)
  14. Index
    (pp. 297-303)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 304-304)