Modernism by Michael Levenson

By Michael Levenson

Publish 12 months note: First released September tenth 2007

In this wide-ranging and unique account of Modernism, Michael Levenson attracts on greater than 20 years of study and a career-long fascination with the circulate, its members, and the interval in which it thrived. looking a extra refined figuring out of the kinfolk among the period's texts and contexts, he presents not just an outstanding survey but additionally an important reassessment of Modernism itself.

Spanning many many years, illuminating person achievements and finding them in the intersecting histories of test (Symbolism to Surrealism, Naturalism to Expressionism, Futurism to Dadaism), the ebook locations the variations of tradition along the agitations of modernity (war, revolution, feminism, psychoanalysis). during this standpoint, Modernism needs to be understood extra commonly than just when it comes to its provocative works, experimental varieties, and singular careers. relatively, as Levenson demonstrates, Modernism can be considered because the emergence of an adversary tradition of the hot that trusted audiences in addition to artists, enemies in addition to supporters.

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In the mean time I will continue to shape my introduction around Balso’s journey and, at the same time, try to keep Balso’s guide out of my throat. Defining modernism and the avant-garde To return to the title and rationale of this book: in order to explain the use of “Modernism” and of “Image to Apocalypse”, I also want to discuss another term that informs my argument. I was initially Introduction: “Make It New” 7 tempted by the title “Avant-Garde to Modernism”, which signals one of the ideological and critical transitions occurring in relation to this period that this book will explore.

It is not merely a matter of outward dress and content. But, it is in fact difficult to explain or understand how exactly the content of teaching (or dogma or ideology) or delight (or beauty) might be in the form of a poem “in the sense that Jeffrey Archer is in jail”, to borrow from Terry Eagleton (London Review of Books, vol. 24, no. 8, p. 14), or in the sense that Greek soldiers are in the Trojan horse. On the other hand, it is difficult not to miss the shock tactics of a truly avant-garde public gesture!

Eliot’s The Waste Land, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, W. B. Yeats’s The Tower, Ezra Pound’s Cantos – then following Balso on his journey, unaided by the likes of me, would constitute a splendid alternative introduction. So too would be a visit to the nearest collection of modern art. So too would be a flick through an anthology of manifestos and critical sources, as Peter Childs also suggests (24–5). I recommend The Modern Tradition (1965), edited by Richard Ellmann and Charles Feidelson; A Modernist Reader: Modernism in England, 1910–1930 (1977), edited by Peter Faulkner; The Gender of Modernism, edited by Bonnie Kime Scott (1990); and Modernism: An Anthology of Sources and Documents (1998), edited by Vassiliki Kolocotroni, Jane Goldman and Olga Taxidou.

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