The Modernist Review #29

29 April 2021

Have you felt self-conscious lately? How very modernist of you. Perhaps it’s because (in the U.K. at least) we are beginning, very slowly, to adjust to a relaxing of the pandemic rules, and remind ourselves how to behave in social interactions, or wear something that isn’t loungewear. Or perhaps it’s because we are more self-aware of ourselves within our working space. No longer is ‘a room of one’s own’ a private domain but open to frequent outside scrutiny on Zoom or Teams. People we may not even know gaze into our homes and wonder at the wallpaper or the chaos or the occasional glimpse of a dog’s tail passing by, and few of us can or want to move to a new abode as often as Elizabeth von Arnim to find a tranquil personal space. The ubiquity of Zoom meetings forces us to look at ourselves within our working space, a dystopian parody of Ilse Bing’s photographic self-portrait – though we’re sure there are plenty of modernists who would have loved the memes about looking at oneself on Zoom, not to mention the solemnity of that yellow halo surrounding the speaker’s box. Continue reading “The Modernist Review #29”

Book Review: Unveiling historical blanching: Shola von Reinhold’s LOTE

29 April 2021

Isabelle Coy-Dibley, University of Westminster

“Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman,” Virginia Woolf said.

 “And/or Black,” Malachi said. (352-53)     

Continue reading “Book Review: Unveiling historical blanching: Shola von Reinhold’s LOTE”

Book Review: Affective Materialities

29 April 2021

Isabelle Jenkinson, University of Leeds

Affective Materialities opens with an invitation for its contributors. Kara Watts and Molly Volanth Hall describe how the body in modernist literature has been claimed differently within recent critical theory by ecocriticism and affect theory. Their invitation is to consider the modernist body as it appears at the intersection of these two schools of thought. In other words, the collection asks how we might consider the body in its material relation to ecologies and as a subject experiencing affect.  Continue reading “Book Review: Affective Materialities”

Book Review: Dynamic Form: How Intermediality Made Modernism

29 April 2021

Rachel Fountain Eames, University of Birmingham

Cara L. Lewis, Dynamic Form: How Intermediality Made Modernism (Ithaca & London: Cornell University Press, 2020)

Cara L. Lewis’s first monograph, Dynamic Form, presents a reading of modernism that unites the historicist turn of New Modernist Studies with New Formalism, to show how re-establishing a dialogue between these two critical approaches encourages a deeper understanding of form itself. Lewis follows these two tributaries of criticism which, she argues, have grown too separate, resulting in a false dichotomy which risks diminishing the value of both. ‘As modernism has come to mean history, not form,’ she argues, ‘so too has form been transmuted into archive, into medium’ (6). Fortunately, Dynamic Form offers an expansive, intermedial approach to modernism which demonstrates the potential for intriguing new interpretations that a unified approach can facilitate. Drawing case studies from a cross-section of modernist literature – Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Mina Loy, Evelyn Waugh, Gertrude Stein – Lewis explores the cross-pollination of a diverse range of artistic media and literature in order to demonstrate the affordances of intermedial form for these writers.

Continue reading “Book Review: Dynamic Form: How Intermediality Made Modernism”

A Writer Prepares: Reading Woolf’s Diary as Rehearsal Process

29 April 2021

Ellie Mitchell, University of St Andrews

Although diaries seldom make an appearance in her fiction, Virginia Woolf kept one for almost the entirety of her adult life, and her diary played a leading role in the composition of her works.[1]Certainly, since Leonard Woolf’s publication of the abridged A Writer’s Diary in 1953, it has become a critical commonplace to observe that Woolf plans, practises, and reflects on her writings in her diary.[2]What remains to be investigated, however, are the precise ways in which this planning, practice, and reflection are carried out. From as early as 1903, Woolf refers to her diarising as ‘training for eye & hand’, but what does this training involve?[3]Which aspects of writing does Woolf practise in her diary, and how precisely does she practise them? Continue reading “A Writer Prepares: Reading Woolf’s Diary as Rehearsal Process”

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