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The Modernist Review #33

We had a lovely summer in the UK. This year it was on a Wednesday. We can’t lie though and say we’re not excited for the sinfully early reemergence of the pumpkin spice latte, which we’re pretty sure T. E. Hulme would have included in his poem ‘Autumn’ had he had a cosy cafe down the road. It’s the last few weeks of being able to take a book outdoors, though, and finish off that summer reading we said we’d do (what’s that joke about managing to turn all your hobbies into chores, again?), and we’re determined to make the most of it before the leaves fall and the madness of school and university term hits.  Continue reading “The Modernist Review #33”

The Intersection of Modernism and the First World War in Women’s Poetry

1 September 2021

Edel Hanley, University College Cork

While women’s First World War writing reveals that women’s war experience was as psychologically scarring as the combatant experience of trench warfare, little work has considered the relationship between women’s war poetry and modernism. Having not served at the Front, women were presumed incapable of understanding war. Claire Buck highlights the problems associated with women’s war poetry claiming that, “readers have often found it disappointingly backward-looking in both style and subject matter, many poems reiterating a version of femininity rooted in home front experiences of waiting and mourning”. [1] In this article, however, I examine the ways in which women poets deploy modernist and Georgian tropes [Romantic literary tradition popularised early in the reign of King George V) to register war experience. Georgian writing emerged in the 1910s with the publication of Edward Marsh’s anthology, Georgian Poetry, 1911-1912, which featured combatants poets such as Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke. The anthology established a new style of poetry which modernists would regard as backward-looking, traditional, and overly sentimental in terms of form and content. Continue reading “The Intersection of Modernism and the First World War in Women’s Poetry”

Book Review: Killing the Buddha: Henry Miller’s Long Journey to Satori

1 September 2021

John Clegg, University of British Columbia

Jennifer Cowe, Killing the Buddha: Henry Miller’s Long Journey to Satori (Vancouver: Fairleigh Dickenson University Press, 2020)

Vancouver has become quite the centre for late modernist studies, the locus of which is the Fairleigh Dickinson University Press offices, headed by Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell scholar, James Gifford. Although it in many ways keeps with the general trajectory of late modernist studies, the latest work to emerge out of this milieu, Jennifer Cowe’s svelte Killing the Buddha: Henry Miller’s Long Journey to Satori (2020), attempts to pave a new spiritual path in reading, thinking and writing about Henry Miller. 

Continue reading “Book Review: Killing the Buddha: Henry Miller’s Long Journey to Satori”

Book Review: Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds

1 September 2021

Sean SeegerUniversity of Essex

Cary Wolfe, Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020)

Cary Wolfe’s Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds (2020) may be read as a continuation of the critical project he began in What is Posthumanism? (2010), one of the most widely cited texts on posthumanism to date. While familiarity with that earlier work isn’t a prerequisite for understanding Ecological Poetics, reading or rereading Posthumanism before beginning is certainly advantageous. Although Wolfe generally avoids the baroque excesses of some theory-heavy work in literary studies, his complex argument does presuppose a degree of familiarity with his theory of the posthuman in order to be fully appreciated. Continue reading “Book Review: Ecological Poetics, or, Wallace Stevens’s Birds”

Book Review: The Fictions of Arthur Cravan: Poetry, Boxing and Revolution

1 September 2021

Aaron Eames, Loughborough University 

Dafydd Jones, The Fictions of Arthur Cravan: Poetry, Boxing and Revolution (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2019)

Arthur Cravan (1887-1918) was a sailor in the Pacific, muleteer, orange-picker in California, snake charmer, hotel thief, logger in the great forests, former French boxing champion, grandson to the Queen’s Chancellor, Berlin automobile chauffeur, gentleman thief, and much else besides – or so he claimed. Provocateur, poet and poser, we know for certain that Cravan mingled with the pre-war Parisian avantgarde, was knocked out in an exhibition match by Jack Johnson, and was the nephew of Oscar Wilde. He is, at first glance, a biographer’s dream but, when one considers all the misinformation, mystique, and mythology surrounding (and generated by) this remarkable man, he quickly becomes an impossible subject. In The Fictions of Arthur Cravan, Dafydd W. Jones manages to get to grips with this simultaneously effusive and elusive figure and place his impressive list of epithets in their proper context. Giving due acknowledgement to Maria Lluïsa Borràs’s Arthur Cravan: une stratégie du scandale (1996), this book provides anglophone audiences with the first comprehensive biographical study of this ‘twentieth century man of mystery’.[1]

Continue reading “Book Review: The Fictions of Arthur Cravan: Poetry, Boxing and Revolution”

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