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The Modernist Review #26

7 December 2020

It feels almost an impossible task to end 2020 with a reflective editorial about our year at the Modernist Review. The frequency with which we’ve used the word ‘unprecedented’ in 2020 could be plotted on an exponential curve (as could the amount of time we’ve all spent looking at exponential curves), but it has truly been an unprecedented year. The pandemic has changed the way we live and work; regular trips to the library seem like a footloose and fancy-free memory, and we have all become familiar with conducting classes and webinars via MS Teams and Zoom, waving for slightly too long as we wait for someone to click the ‘end meeting’ button. But by same token the ways in which we are sociable and collegiate have changed, and we at BAMS feel so grateful for the new ways that we have been able to interact. ModZoom has allowed us to meet colleagues from around the world; #ModWrite has occasionally morphed into a #ModBake or #ModCraft as expectations about writing have thankfully ebbed and flowed throughout the year. This week, we are meeting on Zoom for New Work in Modernist Studies 2020, and for the first time we can hear from fellow PhD researchers in different time zones and across oceans. Continue reading “The Modernist Review #26”

Book Review: Modernism and Time Machines

7 December 2020

Alexander Jones, Trinity College Dublin

Charles M. Tung, Modernism and Time Machines (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019)

Time is undoubtedly a central aspect of modernist literature’s depiction of life. Certain modernist texts aspire to the condition of vehicles that move the reader through time, or that overlap chronologies over each other: the backward leaps of involuntary memory in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927), say, or Ezra Pound’s statement of historical simultaneity:‘[a]ll ages are contemporaneous.’[1] These implications run through Charles M. Tung’s new study, Modernism and Time Machines: ‘Modernism was itself, in many hitherto-unconsidered senses of the phrase, a time machine.’ (p. 2) What he means by this is that ‘the modernist aesthetic called attention to itself not only as a vehicle for experiencing and moving in time, but also as a technique for rethinking that experience and movement.’ (pp. 1-2) The book explores this dynamic by theorising new ways of understanding the ‘time machine’ as both object and approach. Continue reading “Book Review: Modernism and Time Machines”

Book Review: British Literature and Culture in Second World Wartime

4 August 2020

Kevin Neuroth, Humboldt University of Berlin and King’s College London

Beryl Pong, British Literature and Culture in Second World Wartime (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020)

In our understanding of modernism – both as a cultural movement and as a historical process – the First World War occupies a central place. There is a broad consensus among scholars that the experiences of the years 1914-18 played a central role in the development of the high modernism of the 1920s, from the experience of shell shock represented in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the mood of civilisational collapse pervading T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922). By comparison, the 1930s and 1940s remain under-researched. In her book Modernism and World War II (2007), Marina MacKay (University of Oxford) argues for the ‘historical and political’ importance of late modernism and wonders why so ‘little of the [Second World] war’s literature has ever fully registered on the critical field of vision’[1]. Continue reading “Book Review: British Literature and Culture in Second World Wartime”

Late Stylist: Gertrude Stein’s Affective Time

Hyunjung Kim, Texas A&M University

3rd July 2020

‘Art’s autonomy shows signs of blindness,’ writes Theodor W. Adorno.[1] In Invalid Modernism(2019), Michael Davidson observes that Adorno metaphorically links ‘blindness to willed unknowing’ to begin his theory of aesthetics ‘to represent art’s refusal of the mimetic, the familiar, the true.’[2] To rewrite these statements, perhaps a little more poetically, we might understand an Adornian sense of willful blindness as an effort in search of different modes of seeing, connecting, and living by pursuing an active negation of the existing relations we have with otherness. Evoking Gertrude Stein’s perhaps most quoted line, ‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose,’ this willful blindness reads as a gesture to attune to rose differently, to acknowledge that we see rose differently, to sense blue in what has been so long associated with red, or to imagine a shape that does not necessarily take the form of rose at all. Or we might also say, with the first line of Tender Buttons(1914), ‘A Carafe, that is a Blind Glass’, Stein obscures the original shape and purpose of a glass, making it ‘blind’ and thus opaque, impermeable, and impermissible. Continue reading “Late Stylist: Gertrude Stein’s Affective Time”

Mrs Dalloway and Time

Kirsty Hewitt, University of Glasgow

Mrs Dalloway (1925) is a brief novel, but one which offers up a plethora of themes for consideration and discussion.  I have previously considered the role of the different female characters in the novel in Gender and Femininity in Mrs Dalloway, published in the Modernist Review.  This piece will continue to delve into Woolf’s fourth novel, but will instead focus upon the use of which she makes of time.  Set over the course of a single day, time is a pivotal and ever-present construct in Mrs Dalloway.  It is worth mentioning that the working title of the novel was The Hours, which endured until August 1924.[1]

Continue reading “Mrs Dalloway and Time”

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