scispace - formally typeset
Search or ask a question

Showing papers in "Journal of Modern Literature in 2009"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In The Road (2006), Cormac McCarthy's approach to "naming differently" establishes the imaginative conditions for a New Earth, a New Eden as discussed by the authors, a change especially evident when the book is set against Blood Meridian because their styles and concomitant worldviews differ so strikingly.
Abstract: In The Road (2006), Cormac McCarthy’s approach to “naming differently” establishes the imaginative conditions for a New Earth, a New Eden. The novel diverges from the rest of McCarthy’s oeuvre, a change especially evident when the book is set against Blood Meridian because their styles and concomitant worldviews differ so strikingly. The style of The Road is pared down, elemental: it triumphs over the dead and ghostly echoes of the abyss and, alternately, over relentless ironic gesturing. And it is precisely in The Road’s language that we discover the seeds of the work’s unexpectedly optimistic worldview. The novel is best understood as a linguistic journey toward redemption, a search for meaning and pattern in a seemingly meaningless world — a search that, astonishingly, succeeds. Further, I posit The Road as an argument for a new kind of fiction, one that survives after the current paradigm of excess collapses, one that returns to the essential elements of narrative.

81 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bechdel as discussed by the authors made an additional play for high literary status by larding her book with the influence of canonical modernist literature, not only through frequent and explicit citation and reference, but also by subtler formal, thematic and textual gestures.
Abstract: When Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic came out in 2006, the striking literary quality of the narrative was noted from her first reviews. Bechdel’s memoir is positioned at the intersection of image, narrative, autobiography and history. But Bechdel makes an additional play for high literary status by larding her book with the influence of canonical modernist literature, not only through frequent and explicit citation and reference, but also by subtler formal, thematic and textual gestures. Of all of these references, Joyce is the most ubiquitous; Joyce frames the novel and introduces both the conflict presented and its reconciliation. Bechdel clearly states the legitimacy of the graphic narrative as inheritor of the modernist tradition, particularly as exemplified through Joyce. At the same time, her relationship to Joyce and the modernist tradition is playful and sometimes combative.

44 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper argued that To the Lighthouse demonstrates Woolf's understanding of the connections between space, time, objectivity, and consciousness and reveals the degree to which her ideas both resemble and diverge from those expressed by Einstein.
Abstract: This essay argues that To the Lighthouse demonstrates Woolf 's understanding of the connections between space, time, objectivity, and consciousness and reveals the degree to which her ideas both resemble and diverge from those expressed by Einstein. Whereas Woolf 's notions of space and time are intimately linked with the preeminent scientist's, her ideas of fluid subject-object boundaries offer a holistic conception of the world that proves far more compatible with the controversial assertions made by quantum physicists such as Bohr and Heisenberg in the early 1900s than with Einstein's adamant belief in objective realism. The author discusses how Mrs. Ramsey embodies key elements of the special and general theories of relativity at the same time as she supersedes them via her conscious connections to people and objects around her. Mrs. Ramsay's unique worldview is counterbalanced by her husband's traditional, representational logic, and dramatized through their interpersonal conflicts. Lily Briscoe's artistic development reveals Woolf 's own complex beliefs and mirrors the dramatic shifts that occurred in modern scientific epistemologies.

32 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Autonomy is a principle by which artists claim the right to redefine every element of their heritage by balancing energies and tensions that are exemplified in the mutual involvement of authorship, audience, work, and world as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Historicist critics of modernism characterize modernist claims about abstraction, impersonality, and autonomy as escapist denials of a plausible realism. This essay uses examples from the visual arts—Pissarro, Cezanne, and Malevich—to argue that modernist autonomy is not an escape from nature but a recasting of art's relation to the world. The dream of autonomy derives from artists who, rather than picturing the world from a position of external authority, imagine that they have to work from the inside out. Instead of presenting pictures of discreet entities or objects, they render situations characterized by mutually dependent and mutually determining elements. Autonomy names a principle by which artists claim the right to redefine every element of their heritage by balancing energies and tensions that are exemplified in the mutual involvement of authorship, audience, work, and world. A literary example of such autonomy, and of the value of autonomy, is Wallace Stevens's "Nomad Exquisite."

30 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Nicole Krauss's The History of Love (2005) as discussed by the authors represents, without the privilege of direct memory, a Holocaust past and a postmodern present, serving as witness to the end of a generation of Holocaust memoirs and to a future of Holocaust literature where imagination and history are interpolated.
Abstract: Nicole Krauss’s The History of Love (2005) represents, without the privilege of direct memory, a Holocaust past and a postmodern present. Indeed, the representation of the Holocaust in this novel serves as witness to the end of a generation of Holocaust memoirs and to a future of Holocaust literature where imagination and history are interpolated. This article reviews the range and periodicity of American Holocaust fiction, examines the presence of the Holocaust in The History of Love, and considers strategies unique to Krauss’s voice as a third generation Holocaust writer. Such an examination explores the novel’s ambivalent position, one that is built on a fraught triumvirate: history, a wary critical community, and a contemporary audience longing for an imaginative connection between themselves and the historical event.

25 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that modernist writers use sound and auditory experience to subvert traditional Enlightenment notions of self and narrative, which tend to privilege sight, while vision indicates an analytical self, distanced from the world, audition allows for a self immersed in the world.
Abstract: This essay questions why there is a heightened attention to sound and auditory experience in the modernist novel. I argue that aside from being influenced by developing auditory technologies, modernist writers use sound and auditory experience to subvert traditional Enlightenment notions of self and narrative, which tend to privilege sight. While vision indicates an analytical self, distanced from the world, audition allows for a self immersed in the world. By examining the novels of Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson and James Joyce, I demonstrate how modernist writers connect their characters through shared listening, how music and nuances in voice are able to represent the ineffable and how stream of consciousness is a part of the auditory imagination. I suggest that much of the formal experimentation associated with modernism is dependent on this representation of sound and auditory experience.

18 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors applied Julia Kristeva's Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia (1987) to Jean Rhys's fourth novel, Good Morning, Midnight (1939), and found that women's depression lies in their thwarted mourning for the lost maternal, their refusal to separate from the mother and enter into language and society.
Abstract: This essay applies Julia Kristeva's Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia (1987) to Jean Rhys's fourth novel, Good Morning, Midnight (1939). Kristeva maintains in Black Sun that the root of women's depression lies in their thwarted mourning for the lost maternal—their refusal to separate from the mother and enter into language and society. Most people separate from—Kristeva says "negate"—the mother and subsequently recover her in signs, in language. Depressives, however, "disavow the negation: they cancel it out, suspend it, and nostalgically fall back on the real object (the Thing) of their loss, which is just what they do not manage to lose, to which they remain painfully riveted" (Kristeva, BS 43). Denying the negation blocks normative language and social development. Black Sun , then, yields significant insights into the heroine of Rhys's novel, Sasha Jansen, whose seemingly aberrant behavior and nonsensical language may now be understood as symptoms of Kristevan depression.

15 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Despite generic and philosophical distinctions, the elegies of Rainer Maria Rilke and Virginia Woolf embody a modernist poetics of insufficiency, one which remains endlessly open to death as mentioned in this paper.
Abstract: Despite generic and philosophical distinctions, the elegies of Rainer Maria Rilke and Virginia Woolf embody a modernist poetics of insufficiency, one which remains endlessly open to death. Death, The Duino Elegies and novels like Jacob’s Room and To the Lighthouse reveal, is both the object, and potentially inexhaustible source, of art. But instead of treating consolation with contempt, as Jahan Ramazani has argued, their modernist elegies emphasize the human desire for recovery and full presence, for transcendence, while offering themselves as proof that art cannot transcend death. This elegiac tension, their poetics’s insistence that mourning be without closure, does, nevertheless, contain a poignant and vital sublimity of its own—challenging us not only to grieve differently, but also to see the life around us in formerly unsuspected ways. For these two modernists, then, the elegy constitutes the process of reopening the wound, and the consolation that leaves readers profoundly affected and ultimately dissatisfied.

12 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors introduce a series of German theorists, from Helmuth Plessner to Peter Sloterdijk, who have for the most part not been translated into English and formulate the impact of laughter in productive (rather than in destructive or deconstructive) terms.
Abstract: The laughter heard throughout Joyce's and Beckett's texts is not merely a side-effect of humor, comedy or irony. It is rather a sound effect, one whose impact upon the language of the text, and upon the body of the listening reader, offers productive interference to the "silent practice" of writing and reading traditionally belonging to the novel and the hermeneutic practices associated with it. In attempting to formulate the impact of laughter in productive (rather than in destructive or deconstructive) terms, this analysis of laughter in Joyce's and Beckett's work turns away from Freud and the psychoanalytic treatments of laughter that still tend to dominate criticism. Instead, it introduces a series of German theorists—from Helmuth Plessner to Peter Sloterdijk—who, despite their signal importance to this aspect of Joyce's and Beckett's work, have for the most part not been translated into English.

11 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Mena as discussed by the authors explored the political and economic context of the beauty industry and its role as a powerful agent of neocolonialism, exposing the fallacy of universal notions of both beauty and race as a priori facts.
Abstract: Heavy promotion for beauty products and services first appeared in North America during the first two decades of the twentieth century. While the vast majority of nineteenth-century Americans had interpreted cosmetic adornment as an indecorous alteration of a woman’s “natural” body, many in the early twentieth century came to embrace not only the rise of a multitude of beauty products such as commercial soaps, skin care treatments and cosmetics, but also dramatic new medical technologies of body modification including cosmetic surgery. It was not an easy shift, however, for people to unequivocally embrace the physical display and physiognomic flexibility that the new cosmetic and surgical technologies of beauty afforded to women of means, some of which were understood to change skin color and the perceived ethnic profile of the nose. Many people were unsettled by the wide availability of products and services that enabled women to alter their bodies, an entity that, since the previous century, an increasing variety of scientific and popular practices had formulated as the most reliable indicator of one’s racial status, moral worth and personal character. In fact, Euro-American intellectuals, activists and cultural workers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border increasingly regarded traits such as an aquiline nose or recessed brow as universal indicators of an individual’s racial fitness and individual health, and this ideology of aesthetic determinism undergirded immigration and sterilization policy, public health campaigns and social movements of many kinds 1 Widespread legislation even prohibited individuals with visible disabilities from publicly soliciting money from passersby in the form of the so-called “Ugly Laws.” 2 Yet how could a wide range of early twentieth-century nationalists, reformers and scientists define “beauty” as a fixed sign of racial identity and physical vigor when so many others increasingly accepted the practices of body adornment and modification in the commercial age? How are we to understand the seeming paradox of this aesthetic indeterminism? 3 Writing stories of Mexican women in highbrow US literary magazines such as Century, Cosmopolitan, and American Magazine during the years of the Mexican Revolution, Mexican-American author Maria Cristina Mena (1893-1965) restages these competing ideas about the propriety of cosmetics by turning readers’ attention to the political and economic context of beauty products themselves. Her stories bring beauty to life as a commercial commodity that exposes the fallacy of universal notions of both beauty and race as a priori facts. Illustrating the ways that beauty and its alleged correlative, whiteness, were increasingly mass-produced, transportable products throughout Mexico, her work makes the politically significant point that beauty was available for purchase in the twentieth-century neocolonial marketplace rather than existing outside it as a disinterested, universal ideal. Illuminating the political economy of beauty, Mena interrogated the beauty industry as a potent agent of neocolonialism that negatively impacts her characters’ self-conception, social relations and economic independence at a time when US

10 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A recent revisionary focus for the so-called new modernist studies has been the relationship between high modernism and formal preoccupations of interwar novelists who followed in its wake.
Abstract: A recent revisionary focus for the so-called new modernist studies has been the relationship between high modernism and formal preoccupations of interwar novelists who followed in its wake. This essay, contributing to this ongoing work about the distinctive innovations of late-modernist writing, considers British women writers who extended the heritage of the regional novel while accommodating the ambitions of modernist experimentalism. Although assumptions about the retrogressive nature of fiction from the 1930s and 40s—including its relegation of stylistic virtuosity in favor of social commentary, its supposed affinity with Victorian classic realism, and its concomitant resistance to subjectivity-centered techniques of interiority and indirectness—have come under scrutiny by reassessments of the period, what is less well recognized, let alone analyzed, is the extent to which such different writers as Sylvia Townsend Warner, Storm Jameson, and Rosamond Lehmann capitalized on the advancements of their modernist-Impressionist precursors to develop new modes for engagement with provincial environments.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The essay collection Essays in Aesthetics as mentioned in this paper includes most of the essays from Gerard Genette's Figures IV, edited and translated by Dorrit Cohn, collected essays, lectures, and introductions written over three decades.
Abstract: Essays in Aesthetics includes most of the essays from Gerard Genette's Figures IV , edited and translated by Dorrit Cohn. It collects essays, lectures, and introductions written over three decades and offers a solid overview of Genette's work in this period. As the title suggests, many of these essays deal with philosophical problems in aesthetics, while others explore painting, music, and other arts. However, most of the collection's best essays are principally biographical or literary. These include "From Work To Text," Genette's account of his and his generation's intellectual development, "The Diary, The Anti-Diary," which memorializes Roland Barthes, and two "suites" on Stendhal and Proust. This is a mature, sensitive, and witty critic returning to meditate on his preferred authors. Readers interested in literary theory, nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature, and interdisciplinary approaches to literature and other arts will find this book valuable.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors placed Hamsun's erratic behavior during the 1930s and early 1940s, when he publicly endorsed the German war effort, has tarnished the reputation of his Nobel Prize-winning novel Growth of the Soil (1917) and in some circles stigmatized it as "reactionary," "antimodern" and even "proto-fascist" text.
Abstract: The Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun's erratic behavior during the 1930s and early 1940s, when he publicly endorsed the German war effort, has tarnished the reputation of his Nobel Prize-winning novel Growth of the Soil (1917) and in some circles stigmatized it as "reactionary," "antimodern" and even "proto-fascist" text. Placing Hamsun within an international context and drawing on both critical theory and revisionist scholarship into the back-to-the-land movement, I find instead that contemporary land and life reformers' conflicted attempts to map out "alternative modernities" are mirrored in Growth of the Soil 's fraught negotiation with modern technology, producing a complex dialectic of critique and affirmation that cannot simply be dismissed as backward-looking. Rather than directly prefiguring the political mobilization of retrograde anxieties in the mass movements of the 1930s, Hamsun's "agricultural book" signifies ambiguously within a heterogeneous space of conflicting discourses and practices directed against and towards the modern world.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors show that horizontal bars represent the unseen narrative behind the visible narrative, the seductive underlying stories that tempt the reader to piece together the separate narrative veins.
Abstract: Gabriel Josipovici’s “Mobius the Stripper” and J. M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year share one very distinct characteristic: both narratives employ horizontal bars to separate different veins of narrative. Yet, while Josipovici and Coetzee employ the lines for dif ferent purposes, the linguistic and visual play in the case of both fictions is the same. With help from Roland Barthes’s comments on the nature of sexiness and striptease, the nature of these horizontal lines becomes clearer: these horizontal bars represent the “unseen” narrative behind the visible narrative, the seductive underlying stories that tempt the reader to piece together the separate narrative veins.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines selected works of Ernest Hemingway, who became one of the most influential creators and arbiters of authenticity in modern literature but who constantly subjected the concept to critical scrutiny in his fiction.
Abstract: Authenticity is a widespread but ambiguous notion in our collective imagination. Cut off from its essentialist roots by various schools of twentieth-century philosophy, it has come to be shaped, as a discursive construct, by popular culture rather than scholarly thought. This article examines selected works of Ernest Hemingway, who became one of the most influential creators and arbiters of authenticity in modern (popular) literature but who constantly subjected the concept to critical scrutiny in his fiction. This ambivalent attitude grew out of Hemingway's interaction with the modernist literary field. Initially, posturing as an authentic writer served to distinguish him from the urban boheme. Later, as the posture became fashionable and threatened to lose its distinctive function, he questioned and refined it on a regular basis in his works, which thus allows us a glimpse at the collective imagination of authenticity in the making.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Secret Agent as mentioned in this paper analyzes Conrad's aural descriptions in The Secret Agent in an attempt to broaden the critical understanding of the author's impressionist techniques, including the use of sound as a disruptive force indicating the revelation of destructive secrets.
Abstract: Although numerous critics have discussed the impressionist aspects of The Secret Agent, they have focused primarily on the novel's visual imagery and given little attention to Joseph Conrad's extensive descriptions of sound. Both painters and musical composers influenced literary impressionism, however, and Conrad uses aural imagery in the novel both thematically and descriptively. For a novel about secrecy — secret agents, secret meetings, secret feelings — silence is essential. Thus, sound functions as a disruptive force, indicating the revelation of destructive secrets. Conrad's sound imagery also fulfills his desire to make readers "hear" through the written word and to evoke the suggestive power of music. This article analyzes Conrad's aural descriptions in The Secret Agent in an attempt to broaden the critical understanding of the author's impressionist techniques.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Clinical accounts of Cardiazol-induced shock treatments next to Carrington's own testimony of the helplessness imposed upon the mentally ill and the socially transgressive suggest that Down Below appears more realistic than previously supposed.
Abstract: This essay examines Leonora Carrington's Down Below through a psychiatric lens. In particular, it looks at clinical accounts of Cardiazol-induced shock treatments next to Carrington's own testimony of the helplessness imposed upon the mentally ill and the socially transgressive. Cardiazol—an analeptic drug used to induce seizures strong enough to fracture vertebrae and stop the heart—is often mentioned in Carrington scholarship, but scholars have not delved into the drug's protocol. In fact, theorists have too readily accepted the details of psychiatric treatment in Carrington's piece as symbolic, metonymic, or simply fantastic recollections from a damaged mind. They concentrate on her more lucid interpretations after she has healed from her ordeal. However, when set beside clinical descriptions of Cardiazol treatment, the text appears more realistic than previously supposed. Down Below presents one of the most comprehensive and accurate patient descriptions of treatment with the psychiatric drug Cardiazol in existence today.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article argued that Nooteboom's novel All Souls Day offers a singular and unique perspective on the ethical burden the recently unified cities faces in the post-unification era, namely the obligation to remember the division and pre-division German pasts.
Abstract: Contemporary Berlin novels commonly anchor representations of post-unification Berlin within an ethics of remembering in which the city's mottled topography is frequently portrayed as a historically saturated site. Invariably, this historical focus is supported by an aesthetics in which representing Berlin is concomitant with an ethical obligation to address in some form the city's pasts. It is argued in this paper that through an engaged comparison of Walter Benjamin's theory of critical pedestrianism with Nietzsche's "The Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life," Dutch novelist Cees Nooteboom's novel All Souls Day questions the possibility of representing the city as a discursive space in which the past and the present can mutually co-exist. Nooteboom's text offers a singular and unique perspective on the ethical burden the recently unified cities faces in the post-unification era, namely the obligation to remember the division and pre-division German pasts, by questioning whether it is at all possible for the city to fulfill this duty of historical remembering.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Wright's travel narrative of the Gold Coast/Ghana, and particularly the politicized psychology it develops as an analytic tool is discussed in this article, where he discusses such classically psychoanalytic concepts as the return of the repressed, the Oedipal conflict, and anal eroticism in terms of West African daily life, often revising both Freudian concepts and his own notion of black identity in the process.
Abstract: This paper discusses Wright’s travel narrative of the Gold Coast/Ghana, and particularly the politicized psychology it develops as an analytic tool. Paying close attention to the effects of colonial economic control on daily life, Wright discusses such classically psychoanalytic concepts as the return of the repressed, the Oedipal conflict, and anal eroticism in terms of West African daily life, often considerably revising both Freudian concepts and his own notion of black identity in the process. While the African American tradition gave him the means to articulate psychic life with historical realities, the Freudian intervention gave him license to focus on sexual and scatological topics that had yet, in 1954, to receive serious consideration as political matters. Hence, Black Power is an enormous resource for contemporary critical efforts towards reading psychoanalysis, African American culture, and political struggles of the global South in combination.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, Beckett introduces narrative contingency into the heart of the ethical relation between self and other, which complicates Levinas's concept of the other's precise, irreplaceable singularity.
Abstract: In Malone Dies , Beckett introduces narrative contingency into the heart of the ethical relation between self and other, which complicates Levinas’s concept of the other’s precise, irreplaceable singularity. Beckett shows how narrating to and about others involves ethical binding and responsibility, but only ironically, within the explicitly thematized contingency and exchangeability of narrative decisions that undermine the committed specificity of ethical relations. Beckett thereby develops a narrative poetics of ethical frustration that engages the reader’s desire to banish the irreducible contingency of elements within a narrative system.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article explored Beckett's encounter with psychoanalysis, which they linked to the properly "modernist" dimension of his work, its creative resistance to historicist interpretation, and the Beckettian phrases "never been properly born" and etre manque.
Abstract: The article explores Beckett's encounter with psychoanalysis, which it links to the properly "modernist" dimension of his work, its creative resistance to historicist interpretation. It first engages with biographical accounts of Beckett-and-psychoanalysis, emphasizing the problem posed by the concept of "transference" for an empiricist historiography and pausing over Beckett's remark that his analysis involved "intrauterine memories." The article then posits a triangular structure linking Beckett's analysis with Bion to his relations with James Joyce and Lucia Joyce, a structure in which Jung occupied a position of false mastery. The Beckettian phrases "never been properly born" and etre manque are shown to derive from this triangle, and are drawn into a phonemic cluster, centred on a mark of linguistic and ontological failure associated with Beckett's mother, which is traced throughout his work. The article addresses Beckett's movement between languages, his reflection on translation and his sense of the relation between singular utterance and collective identity.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A notable exception is as discussed by the authors, which presents a picture of London during the London Blitz that overflows with intense colors, which is to be understood as a quasi-synaesthetic response to the sounds of bombing.
Abstract: Living in a city subjected to aerial bombardment is an experience dominated by the aural rather than the visual sense: bombs are heard, not seen. Accordingly, much of the writing about the London Blitz relies on the imagery of blindness. There is, however, a notable exception. Henry Green's 1943 novel , Caught, presents a picture of London during the Blitz that overflows with intense colors. The colors, which do not inhere in any of the objects Green describes, are to be understood as a quasi-synaesthetic response to the sounds of bombing. This response is attributable to Green's progressive deafness.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Mime of the Mick, Nick and the Maggies, a section of the novel Finnegans Wake, is described in this article as a satire on the Darwinian-inspired sexual sciences.
Abstract: James Joyce inscribes his “Mime of the Mick, Nick and the Maggies,” a section of the novel Finnegans Wake, within the symbolic structure of turn-of-the-century sexual science, and specifically within the framework of Darwinian principles of sexual selection. In keeping with the parodic nature of the larger narrative of Finnegans Wake, Joyce creates a complex satire on the Darwinian-inspired sexual sciences—satire situated within the milieu of the children’s nursery and nursery games. The result of Joyce’s burlesque “Mime” reveals the science of sexuality as itself a form of fictional discourse rooted in the aesthetics of desire.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In the 1970 novel Mr. Sammler's Planet, the eponymous narrator states that society should resist its temptation to "explain" and should instead concentrate on "distinguishing"; the goal, he suggests, is to attain a level of perception in which meaning is found within the world, rather than imposed upon it.
Abstract: In Saul Bellow's 1970 novel Mr. Sammler's Planet, the eponymous narrator states that society should resist its temptation to "explain," and should instead concentrate on "distinguishing"; the goal, he suggests, is to attain a level of perception in which meaning is found within the world, rather than imposed upon it. This idea runs to the core of Bellow's work, which often suggests that there are some intangible truths — morality, for instance — that are not merely human constructions, but have an objective ontological presence. These truths, Bellow's work playfully suggests, can be discovered if one attempts to collapse the false divide between subject and object. Once one accepts the troublesome idea of "truth in subjectivity," one can begin to "distinguish" between self-imposed concepts and "natural knowledge." This article traces this concept in Bellow's mid-period work in relation to his ethical theory, and argues that it has its roots in the writing of two key influences, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his follower Rudolf Steiner.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article argued that the aesthetic complexity of modernist texts does not forego but actively addresses (if in a demiurgic fashion) the dangers involved in readings motivated by political agendas such as race and gender.
Abstract: In light of the increasing politicization that can be observed within the discipline of American Studies in the U.S. — with its focus on race, class and gender — and the neglect of matters aesthetic that more often than not accompanies this phenomenon, canonized modernist texts have been cast under something close to a general suspicion. This development, however, has to be seen in the larger context of academic politics, which is provided in Francois Cusset’s recent book French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life in the United States (2008). In it, he diagnoses a split of French post-structuralism into two camps: a school of apolitical textual deconstruction and one of re-politicization based upon identity politics. With the help of a new reading of William Faulkner’s short story “Dry September,” I will argue that this split is both artificial and questionable. I will show that, far from being historically irrelevant or purely mandarin, the aesthetic complexity of modernist texts does not forego but actively addresses (if in a demiurgic fashion) the dangers involved in readings motivated by political agendas such as race and gender.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Davidson's Concerto for the Left Hand as mentioned in this paper is a major contribution to the growing field of disability studies, combining thematic and formalist approaches to experimental poetry, ASL and performance art, film noir, photography and other media.
Abstract: Michael Davidson's Concerto for the Left Hand offers a major contribution to the growing field of disability studies, combining thematic and formalist approaches to experimental poetry, ASL and performance art, film noir, photography and other media. Davidson's aim is to push the conversation around disability beyond identity politics by demonstrating that disability often serves as a formal constraint that leads to aesthetic innovation in these media. He shows how certain works challenge sedimented assumptions about normative embodiment and compulsory "ableness." Davidson locates disability aesthetics within the tradition of modernist and avant-garde experimentation and draws equally upon the critical strategies of queer theory, film theory, contemporary poetics, Russian Formalism and theories of globalization to make legible the unrecognized problems of disability.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors explored Vicki Mahaffey's recent text, Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions, which argues that the way we read reflects our willingness to question certain situations.
Abstract: This review explores Vicki Mahaffey’s recent text, Modernist Literature: Challenging Fictions. Mahaffey’s argument that the way we read reflects our willingness to question certain situations is highlighted in the review. All too often, Mahaffey argues, we are encouraged to read texts passively. Modernists authors push us as readers, asking us to become active participants in the texts that we are reading. Questioning many aspects of teaching, Mahaffey also presents a call to action to be more engaged and engaging teachers. As the modernists she discusses encourage a kind of self-reinvention, so does Mahaffey, making her reader question his or her reading practices and daily ways of dealing with the world.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examined the influence of William Butler Yeats's conception of history in his poem, "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen," on the rhetorical figure of the labyrinth, the negotiations between history and memory and the inspiration of Nietzsche's philosophy of language on two stories from Jorge Luis Borges's 1944 collection, Artificios.
Abstract: This essay examines the influence of William Butler Yeats's conception of history in his poem, "Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen," on the rhetorical figure of the labyrinth, the negotiations between history and memory and the inspiration of Nietzsche's philosophy of language on two stories from Jorge Luis Borges's 1944 collection, Artificios . It begins by examining the lines from Yeats's poem that comprise the epigraph to Borges's "Theme of the Traitor and the Hero," and goes on to propose that Yeats's conception of memory as catachrestic, particularly the notion of a "great memory" which he borrows from Shelley, was a central influence on Borges's thoughts on authorship, language and history. By focusing on Borges as a reader of Yeats, this essay lends a degree of literary depth to discussions that link Artificios to the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's 1873 essays. It also lends a more detailed analysis to the relationship between Borges and Irish modernism.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Uhlmann and Uhlmann as discussed by the authors used Julia Kristeva's concept of the semiotic chora as a lens through which both texts can be read, and found that the chora is heard in Beckett's deployment of common philosophical concepts, such as Deleuze's theories of language and Geulincx's cogito nescio.
Abstract: This review of Anthony Ulhmann's Samuel Beckett and the Philosophical Image and Elizabeth Barry's Beckett and Authority: The Uses of Cliche uses Julia Kristeva's concept of the semiotic chora as a lens through which both texts can be read. For Barry, cliche is linked to stupidity, inertia, memory and religion. Each of Barry's forms of cliche displays a link between Beckett's lack of Symbolic sense and the nonsense heard in the chora. For Uhlmann, the chora is heard in Beckett's deployment of common philosophical concepts, such as Deleuze's theories of language and Geulincx's " cogito nescio ." The emphasis in Uhlmann on lack of knowledge in Beckett also echoes the sound of the chora, which eschews the value of traditional learning or language. Both books are valuable for their insights into Beckett's works, and their connections to literary and philosophical traditions.