Print this page Share

Modernism: Keywords

ISBN: 978-1-4051-8655-1
284 pages
May 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Modernism: Keywords (1405186550) cover image


Guided by the historical semantics developed in Raymond Williams' pioneering study of cultural vocabulary, Modernism: Keywords presents a series of short entries on words used with frequency and urgency in “written modernism,” tracking cultural and literary debates and transformative moments of change. 

  • Highlights and exposes the salient controversies and changing cultural thought at the heart of modernism
  • Goes beyond constructions of “plural modernisms” to reveal all modernist writing as overlapping and interactive in a simultaneous and interlocking mix
  • Draws from a vast compilation of more than a thousand sources, ranging from vernacular prose to experimental literary forms
  • Spans the “long” modernist period, from its incipient beginnings c.1880 to its post-WWII aftermath
  • Approaches English written modernism in its own terms, tempering explanations of modernism often derived from European poets and painters
  • Models research techniques based on digital databases and collaborative work in the humanities
See More

Table of Contents

Credits and Acknowledgments viii

Introduction: Unsettling Modernism x

Note on References xviii


Advertising 1

Atom, Atomic 6

Avant-Garde 11


Best Seller 15

Bigness, Smallness 20

Biography, New Biography 26


Common Man 34

Common Mind, Group Thinking 40

Conventional, Conventionality 45

Coterie, Bloomsbury 49


Democracy 56

Difficulty, Obscurity 63


Einstein 70

Empire, Imperialism 77


Fascism 85

Form, Formalism 91


God, Gods 99


Hamlet 107

Highbrow, Middlebrow, Lowbrow 111

Hygiene 119


Impression, Impressionism 125

International, Internationalism 129


Manifesto 136

Modern, Modernism 139


Negro, New Negro 147


Personality, Impersonality 155

Primitive 162

Propaganda 170


Queer, Gay 177


Race 184

Readers, Reading 191

Reality, Realism 196

Rhythm 203


Sentimental, Sentimentality 210

Shock, Shell Shock 214


Unconscious 223

Universal 231


Woman, New Woman 238

Words, Language 246

Index of Modernist Authors 254

Index of Modernist Keywords 263

See More

Author Information

Melba Cuddy-Keane is Emerita Professor, University of Toronto-Scarborough and Emerita Member of the Graduate Department of English, University of Toronto. Her publications include Virginia Woolf, the Intellectual, and the Public Sphere (2003), the Harcourt annotated edition of Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts (2008) and contributions to A Companion to Modernist Literature and Culture (2006) and A Companion to Narrative Theory (2005).

Adam Hammond recently completed an SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Victoria and is currently the Michael Ridley Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Guelph. He is the author of Literature in the Digital Age: A Critical Introduction (forthcoming 2015).

Alexandra Peat is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literature and Culture, Franklin University Switzerland. She is the author of Travel and Modernist Literature: Sacred and Ethical Journeys (2010).

See More


"Modernism Keywords will be an indispensable resource from the moment it appears.   The work is rigorous in theoretical conception, broad in historical reach, and powerfully revisionary in its implications for modernist study.  It falls within the distinguished legacy of Raymond Williams but also applies the most current methods to an expanding archive of modernist texts. Scholars and students at every level will keep it close at hand."
Michael Levenson, University of Virginia
See More

Related Titles

Back to Top