What is modernist studies today? This question has doggedly plagued the field since the ‘New Modernist Studies’ announced itself in PMLA over a decade ago. And yet the answer might no longer be found bound within journals – instead, the accurate response may be the number of bodies squashed into a room at the Modernist Studies Association in Toronto. These attendants gathered to hear a roundtable on precarity, a subject matter that has become the watchword for not just modernism, but all fields of literary study. As the professoriate, like a perennial pop star, seeks to continually radicalise their object of discussion, an ever-growing chasm is apparent: there is no point in reinventing the wheel if you do not have a car to drive. This point was underscored by the roundtable organiser, Alix Beeston (Cardiff University), noting that modernist studies is not currently a hiring field: ‘What does it mean to speak of the future of modernist studies in a year where there are no TT [tenure track] jobs in modernist studies?’
Kevin Neuroth (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Kate Hext and Alex Murray (eds.), Decadence in the Age of Modernism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019)
Over the past decade, decadence studies have been newly revitalised. In 2017, the Decadence Research Unit, which encompasses the British Association for Decadence Studies as well as the online journal Volupté, was founded. Decadence and Literature, an extensive essay collection edited by Jane Desmarais (Goldsmiths, University of London) and David Weir (Cooper Union) was published by Cambridge University Press this August.