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?.
--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.