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Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions?

Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions?

Vicki Mahaffey

ISBN: 978-0-470-77686-5

Apr 2008

264 pages

$107.99

Description

This inclusive guide to Modernist literature considers the ‘high’ Modernist writers such as Eliot, Joyce, Pound and Yeats alongside women writers and writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

  • Challenges the idea that Modernism was conservative and reactionary.
  • Relates the modernist impulse to broader cultural and historical crises and movements.
  • Covers a wide range of authors up to the outbreak of World War II, among them Oscar Wilde, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, Langston Hughes, Samuel Beckett, HD, Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes, and Jean Rhys.
  • Includes coverage of women writers and gay and lesbian writers.
Preface.

Acknowledgments.

Part I: Introduction.

1. Why Read Challenging Literature?.

Part II: Readings.

2. Partnering: Holmes and Watson, Author and Reader, Lover and Loved, Man and Wife.

3. Window Painting: The Art of Blocking Understanding.

4. Watchman, What of the Night?.

Conclusion.

Notes.

Bibliography.

Index.

""Ambitiously diverse and unsettling, a book that responds provocatively to the challenges it poses.""
--David Bradshaw, University of Oxford


""In this sharp, thoughtful and clearly-written book, modernism is not simply a descriptive category pigeon-holing a literary period; it is made both more problematic (as when its ending is linked with the holocaust) and empowering. Boldly redefining the field, Mahaffey throws a truly original light on the social, political and ethical relevance of main modernist 'chronicles of disorder,' showing convincingly how they challenge repressive authorities as well as the reader's ingrained passivity.""
--Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

""This intelligent, strongly argued book reconceives the term 'modernist' to mean modern literature that challenges the reader because of its originality, complexity, obscurity, or transgressive nature."" (Choice)


  • Challenges the idea that Modernism was conservative and reactionary.
  • Relates the modernist impulse to broader cultural and historical crises and movements.
  • Provides a guide to the development of Modernist literature.
  • Covers women writers, writers of the Harlem Renaissance and openly gay and lesbian writers.