The Modernist Review #27

8 February 2021

At the start of each new year, E.M. Forster used to write a reflection on the year gone by in his diary. We can only empathise with him as he tried to write about 1920, beginning with the sentence: ‘I may shrink from summarising this sinister year’. This is, as the kids say, a big mood. A century on from Forster’s diary entry, it feels kind of like 2021 hasn’t yet started, and 2020 is still dragging its feet and refusing to exit. After all, it’s a new year but the same pandemic. Forster is onto something, though, in using his writing as a way of processing memories of time gone by, and as our contributors show us in this issue, memory and modernism were of course closely intertwined. Forster might have begun 1921 shrinking away from a sinister year, but it was a great year for modernist writing and art. This year, we celebrate one hundred years since Edith Wharton winning the Pulitzer Prize for The Age of Innocence, Proust publishing The Guermantes Way (if you start now, you might finish it by 2022 in time for the next Temps Perdu centenary), Langston Hughes writing ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’, Mondrian straightening up lines on his iconic Composition in Red Blue and Yellow, and Picasso painting his Three Musicians. Maybe you’ve been able to spend some indoor time during this pandemic trying to hash out your own modernist-type masterpiece – whether a seven volume novel or a haiku – for people to celebrate in 2121.  Continue reading “The Modernist Review #27”

Salt of the Sarkar: Interrogating the Politics of Salt in Across the Black Waters

8 February 2020

Sonakshi Srivastava, Indraprastha University

Set amidst the backdrop of World War I, Mulk Raj Anand’s Across the Black Waters (1939)  highlights the anxiety of Indian soldiers who arrive in Marseilles after having risked the dreaded ‘kala pani’, which are black waters, rumoured to bring bad luck upon anyone who dares to cross them. A series of salty gastrocentric metaphors and imageries abound in the text to pronounce brimming tensions, and ideas of servitude between the soldiers and the Sarkar, their (English) master.

Continue reading “Salt of the Sarkar: Interrogating the Politics of Salt in Across the Black Waters”

Book Review: Commemorative Modernisms

8 February 2020

Iro Filippaki, Johns Hopkins University

Alice Kelly, Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020)

Anyone who has ever dealt with a close bereavement knows that it inevitably begs the harrowing question of what to do with the body. This question, Alice Kelly writes in her book Commemorative Modernisms: Women Writers, Death and the First World War, is the primary concern of modernism. Kelly’s monograph is an articulate, well-researched, and amply-evidenced study that combines history, material culture, and brilliant close-readings to trace the ways through which women writers reclaimed the realm of World War I and its dead from masculine, combatants’ experience.

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‘Virginia Woolf’s ‘entanglements’ vs. Lacanian Psychoanalytic Criticism’

8 February 2020

Marie Allègre, University of Birmingham

In her 1929 essay ‘Phases of Fiction’, Woolf writes: ‘[t]he enormous growth of the psychological novel in our time has been prompted largely by the mistaken belief […] that truth is always good; even when it is the truth of the psychoanalyst and not the truth of imagination’.[1] Is ‘the truth of the psychoanalyst’ hospitable enough for ‘the truth of imagination’ to emerge?

Continue reading “‘Virginia Woolf’s ‘entanglements’ vs. Lacanian Psychoanalytic Criticism’”

International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices: An Interview with Connie Ruzich

8 February 2020

Connie Ruzich is a professor of English at Robert Morris University; her Ph.D. is from the University of Pennsylvania. Ruzich was a 2014-2015 Fulbright Scholar at the University of Exeter, where she researched the use of poetry in British centenary commemorations of the First World War. She is the editor of International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices (Bloomsbury, 2020), and she runs the popular blog Behind Their Lines, which discusses poetry of the Great War. Her essay “Distanced, disembodied, and detached: Women’s poetry of the First World War” appears in An International Rediscovery of World War One: Distant Fronts (Routledge, 2020), and she contributed “Language and Identity: Introduction,” to be published in Multilingual Environments in the Great War (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2021). You can follow her on Twitter @wherrypilgrim.

This interview was conducted by Edel Hanley (University College Cork).

Continue reading “International Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology of Lost Voices: An Interview with Connie Ruzich”

Online Events Dialogue #3

We’re back with the third instalment in our online events dialogue series. Online events are becoming the new normal, and even when we can all meet in person again, our digital event organisers think that online is here to stay (at least in part – we’d miss the egg sandwiches and bad coffee too much). Last month we heard about nearly-carbon-neutral conferences and a digital lecture series, and before that, we were inspired by an enterprising twitter conference and by the agility of an international conference to make the digital switch. This month, we’re going artsy, with a reflection on how poetry is thriving in the digital space.

Continue reading “Online Events Dialogue #3”

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