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The Modernist Review Issue #45: New Work in Modernist Studies

3 March 2023

February is finally coming to an end, and as we get our first glimpses of Spring we at The Modernist Review are taking the opportunity to reflect back on the snowy yet energising New Work in Modernist Studies, held at Loughborough University in December 2022. Our first NWiMS back in person since the start of the pandemic was a huge success, and it was a joy for us to be able to meet so many new people and hear their excellent research. We would like to especially thank Barbara Cooke and Claire Warden for their incomparable hosting (and wrangling us the most delightful conference lunch we will probably ever have). The camaraderie was top notch; the conversation was the icing on top!

Continue reading “The Modernist Review Issue #45: New Work in Modernist Studies”

Ageing work in modernist studies: Keynote Q&A with Jade French

3 March 2023

The 2022 New Work in Modernist Studies Conference hosted Jade French, Loughborough University, as its keynote speaker. Jade gave an engaging and informative presentation on both her research into the modernist poetics of ageing and her experiences as an early career scholar. We are pleased to present a Q&A with Jade, covering some of the high points of her keynote. Thank you very much to Jade for her amazing keynote and for taking the time to speak with us for this special issue.

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‘That might leave all the more room for fun’: Reproductive Futurism in D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover

3 March 2023

Beth Campbell

D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was published in 1928, and contributes to Lawrence’s call for a primitivist regeneration through which he states that society must ‘get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe’.[1] The plot centres around Connie Chatterley who struggles within her passionless and sexless marriage to her aristocrat husband, Clifford, who was made paralysed whilst fighting in the First World War. As the novel progresses, Connie begins an affair with Clifford’s gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, and their ensuing relationship acts as the primary instigator of both a personal and social regeneration within the novel. Continue reading “‘That might leave all the more room for fun’: Reproductive Futurism in D.H Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover”

Modernity, Loneliness and Religion in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Thank You for the Light’

3 March 2023

Matthew Mullett, University of East Anglia

A short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, ‘Thank You for the Light’ (1936/2012) uses tobacco to explore the relationship between society, religion and the taboos associated with 20th century femininity. Although written in 1936, the story was deemed sacrilegious at the time and was rejected for publication by The New Yorker magazine.[1] It was found by his descendants and accepted for publication by The New Yorker in 2012, finally allowing Fitzgerald’s tobacco-focused short story to see the light of day.[2] The tale provides a valuable insight into 1930s American society, following the excess and optimism of the Roaring Twenties. It is included in my broader research on tobacco in literary modernism, such as cigarettes and cigars in Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), smoking addiction in Italo Svevo’s Confessions of Zeno (1923), or tobacco production in Cuban Counterpoint (1940) by Fernando Ortiz. Tobacco modernism forms a significant part of my doctoral thesis on commodity modernisms.

Continue reading “Modernity, Loneliness and Religion in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘Thank You for the Light’”

Delving into the ‘Prufrock complex’: Corporeal Tensions and Affect in T. S. Eliot’s‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’

3 March 2023

Andrea Lupi, Università di Pisa

First published on Poetry in 1915, ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ is the first literary success of a young Harvard graduate who signs himself as ‘T. S. Eliot’. The poem immediately sparked debate and enthralled many of its readers, including Ezra Pound’s exclamative praise ‘PRAY GOD IT BE NOT A SINGLE AND UNIQUE SUCCESS’ and Louise Untermeyer’s ambivalent proposition that the prompted effect was that of ‘the Muse in a psychopathic ward’. [1] Indeed, the portrait of a man in the throes of middle-age crisis, the unconventional use of overlapping imagery, and the enigmatic opposition of a speaking ‘you’ and ‘I’ led several critics in the attempt to unravel what Eliot himself called the ‘Prufrock complex’. [2] Whereas critics – to quote but some, Frances Dickey (University of Missouri) [3], John Halverson [4], and J. C. C. Mays (University College, Dublin) [5] – have underlined the alienation, dissociation, and fragmentation characterising Prufrock and his complex, through a reading guided by Henri Bergson’s impact on Eliot, I would like to propose instead that ‘The Love Song’ mostly dramatises the paradox of the body, torn between the self and the other, and featuring affective relations and tensions gathering around it. Continue reading “Delving into the ‘Prufrock complex’: Corporeal Tensions and Affect in T. S. Eliot’s‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’”

De-creation and annihilation as strategies of belonging in Jean Rhys

3 March 2023

Hannah Voss, Durham University

The protagonists of Jean Rhys’s novels are young, alienated women who operate on the fringes of their society, often as a result of an ambiguous national status, poverty, or sexual behaviour that deviates from the social norm. As Lauren Elkin writes, ‘There is no room anywhere for Rhys’s women, who are neither colonizers nor colonised, too West Indian for Britain, too British for the West Indies, and altogether too foreign for France’.[1] As a result of this alienation, the prevailing critical characterisation of Rhys’s heroines is that they are sad, aimless women, pursuing numbness or depersonalisation, who ultimately succumb to death or despair, unable to assert their identity within a structure that makes no place for them. In this vein, Erica Johnson and Patricia Moran write that ‘underlying [Rhys’s] portraits of marginalized women is a consistent view of their ghostliness, as though they haunt rather than inhabit’.[2]

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Precarious Modernisms Special Issue: Call for Papers

In collaboration with the Modernist Studies Association, The Modernist Review seeks abstracts for a special issue to coincide with the ‘Precarious Modernisms’ panel at MSA 2023.

In the UK, higher education has seen widespread strike action, while in the US, graduate students across the country have been fighting to unionise and strike for better research and teaching conditions. Meanwhile, modernism has become increasingly –and often productively – destabilised as a category of literary scholarship. In this rapidly shifting climate of academic precarity, what can modernism’s own precarities offer in the way of addressing our contemporary crises of the humanities?

Proposals might consider, but are certainly not limited to:

  • How culturally marked modernist and twentieth-century writers negotiated emerging forms of radical contingency, from Jim Crow segregation to the Lavender scare;
  • Eco-critical approaches to modernist studies in our late stage of the Anthropocene, or the precarity of non-human life in modernist depictions of the rural/pastoral;
  • “Passing” modernisms, or negotiating safety under conditions of racial and sexual threat;
  • Fringe modernist figures and works, or works and theoretical approaches that complicate the boundaries of modernism;
  • The precarity of modernism itself as a discipline, as suggested by the rise (and decline) of the New Modernist Studies, or the paradigms of multiple modernisms.

We are interested in short (~1,000 word) articles and creative responses to the topic of Precarious Modernisms. We especially encourage submissions from MSA members and international modernist scholars. Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short bio are to be sent to Zoë Henry at by 20 March 2023. Please include ‘TMR Special Issue’ in the subject line of your email.

Scholars submitting to this special issue are also encouraged to submit proposals on the same topic for the corresponding ‘Precarious Modernisms’ panel at MSA 2023, designated especially for graduate students and emerging scholars and led by Zoë Henry. Please see submission guidelines for the MSA panel here. Note that both the TMR issue and MSA panel have the same deadline of 20 March.

On acceptance of an abstract for the TMR issue, the deadline for submissions will be late July, for publication of the special issue at the end of September.

Image credit: Paul Klee, ‘Seiltänzer [Tightrope Walker]’ (1923), Colour lithograph on paper, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Creative Commons

The Modernist Review Issue #44

30 January 2023

The new year is finally upon us, and with it a new issue of The Modernist Review. As we return to our academic duties and make our resolutions for 2023 as students, researchers, and readers, we carry with us the energy and the joyful moments we shared in the past month. Looking back to the heart-warming and exciting atmosphere of NWiMS (more on this soon!) our own resolution at TMR is to keep bringing  new and inspiring contributions to the BAMS community and to keep highlighting the work of emerging modernist scholars.

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Walking with Woolf: A Day at Monk’s House

30 January 2023

Galen Bunting, Northeastern University

This summer, I spent a single day visiting Monk’s House, which Virginia and Leonard Woolf purchased for 700 pounds in 1919. My taxicab drove through green tunnels to the small village of Rodmell, and stopped in front of the cottage where Woolf spent much of the Blitz—and where she wrote her 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway. With me, I had a copy of The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway, edited by Merve Emre (University of Oxford). Its margins were arrayed with historical, scholarly, and archival detail from Woolf’s manuscripts and journals, guiding me through Woolf’s texts as I visited Monk’s House.

Continue reading “Walking with Woolf: A Day at Monk’s House”

Book Review: The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway

30 January 2023

Han Au Chua, University of Oxford

Woolf, Virginia. The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway, ed. by Merve Emre (New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2022)

It is true that Merve Emre’s The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway (2021) is not the first annotated version of Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs Dalloway (1925). There have been others that were published in the last two decades. These include Mariner Books’s Mrs. Dalloway (2005), annotated by Bonnie Kim Scott; Oxford University Press’s Mrs Dalloway (2009), accompanied by David Bradshaw’s notes; and Cambridge University Press’s Mrs. Dalloway (2018), edited by Anne Fernald. In fact, the year in which Emre’s book was published saw the release of a Norton critical edition, also edited by Fernald. Yet what makes The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway exceptional is not the scale and depth of evidence marshalled to clarify ostensibly abstruse references in Woolf’s novel. It is the distinctive array of questions posed by Emre to guide the reader in thinking about the novel’s history, structure, and characterisation, as well as the edition’s seamless engagement with influential and largely neglected debates in contemporary modernist scholarship.

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