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A History of Modernist Literature

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7716-0
624 pages
June 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
A History of Modernist Literature (1405177160) cover image


A History of Modernist Literature offers a critical overview of modernism in England between the late 1890s and the late 1930s, focusing on the writers, texts, and movements that were especially significant in the development of modernism during these years.

  • A stimulating and coherent account of literary modernism in England which emphasizes the artistic achievements of particular figures and offers detailed readings of key works by the most significant modernist authors whose work transformed early twentieth-century English literary culture
  • Provides in-depth discussion of intellectual debates, the material conditions of literary production and dissemination, and the physical locations in which writers lived and worked
  • The first large-scale book to provide a systematic overview of modernism as it developed in England from the late 1890s through to the late 1930s
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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Abbreviations xiv

Introduction: Locating Modernism 1

1 Early Modernism 44

The New Woman 44

Literary Impressionism 54

Debating Imperialism 70

Early Modernist Drama 91

Edward Gordon Craig and W. B. Yeats 100

The Modern Metropolis 107

Ford Madox Ford and The English Review 118

2 ‘One Big Bloodless Brawl’: Modernist Literature, 1910–1914 136

Introduction 136

Exploring the Machine Age 141

Poetry and the Renovation of Language 157

Imagism 166

Ford, Flint, and Eliot 176

Dubliners 184

Suffragettes, Feminists, and Egoists 189

Blast and Vorticism 203

3 Modernism During Wartime 231

Introduction 231

Pacifism, Nationalism, and Community 234

Propaganda and Ideology 250

The Good Soldier 271

Portraits of the Male Artist 278

The Politics of Gender 292

4 ‘ A Haughty and Proud Generation’: Modernist Literature, 1918–1930 332

Introduction 332

The Backwashes of War 342

Ulysses 363

The Waste Land 381

Remaking the Novel 395

A Future for the Avant ]Garde? 412

5 Modernism in the 1930s 432

Introduction 432

Modernity and Its Discontents 444

The Situation of Poetry 469

Modernism, Race, and Colonialism 479

The Festival Theatre and Group Theatre 492

Surrealism 504

Pound/Joyce 522

6 Coda: Modernism’s Afterlives 554

Index 570

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Author Information

Andrzej Gasiorek is Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature at the University of Birmingham. He is the author of Postwar British Fiction: Realism and After (1995), Wyndham Lewis and Modernism (2003), and J. G. Ballard (2005) and the co-editor of T. E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism (2006), Ford Madox Ford: Literary Networks and Cultural Transformations (2008), The Oxford History of the Novel in English Vol. 4: The Reinvention of the British and Irish Novel 1880-1940 (2010), The Oxford Handbook of Modernisms (2010), and Wyndham Lewis and the Cultures of Modernity (2011). He is also co-editor of the journal Modernist Cultures and editor of the Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies.

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“Andrzej G¹siorek’s A History of Modernist Literature is a major achievement. The author manages never to oversimplify the range of responses of modernism even within the works of individual authors, and he shows magisterial range over both chronology and the various critical currents in modernist studies over the last decades. Form and context are always in dialog here. A History of Modernist Literature is a landmark work. I suspect it will become a standard history of its field, and it demonstrates an impressive blend of synthesis and reconfiguration of often ambiguous and even self-contradictory idea about authors and events of the period.”—Scott Klein, Wake Forest University

“This is a very impressive undertaking, both intellectually and in the range of its contents. I can think of no other book that covers this wide terrain so expertly . With verve, clarity and a wealth of evidence, Andrzej Gasiorek guides the reader through a series of complex issues, mapping the field of relationships and positions as he proceeds. The prose style is faultless. The commentary on individual texts, on broader tendencies, and on the character and direction of the period is skilful, scholarly, and of a very high order throughout.”—
Peter Brooker, University of Nottingham
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