Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880-1922 by Ann L. Ardis

By Ann L. Ardis

Ann Ardis questions more often than not held perspectives of radical modernism on the flip of the 20 th century. She depicts the "men of 1914," (as Wyndham Lewis referred to as the coterie of writers founded round Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce) as just one between a few teams rationale on redefining the cultural ambitions of British literature on the flip of the 20 th century. at the same time, Ardis reclaims key examples of non-modernist aesthetic attempt linked to British socialism and feminism of the interval.

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As the work of a writer with a growing reputation, it exemplifies her satisfaction with her newfound role as a “social investigator,” the title by which she refers to herself in this essay.  By contrast to that earlier piece (excerpts of which will be discussed below), “Pages from a Work-Girl’s Diary” is not suffused with apologies for the writer’s limited knowledge of economics in general or of the particular issues relating to unemployment and sweated labor.  The essay opens with the following setting of the scene and introduction of main characters.

Rather, he coopts the authority of science for the humanist. Alluding to William Wordsworth’s claim in the “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” that scientists are specialists while poets can speak to the common man, but rejecting Wordworth’s characterization of science’s mandarin culture, Arnold empowers the “scientific” humanist by charging him with the task of relating the results of modern science to the basic human “instincts” for beauty and conduct. In his  polemic, Literature at Nurse; or, Circulating Morals, George Moore reiterates Arnold’s effort to shore up the cultural authority of “Literature” through reference to its scientificity.

She also supplements the diary account with descriptions of additional characters, presumably in an effort to portray the full range of social ‘types’ to be found in a tailoring shop: from the “woman of the slums” who supports her alcoholic husband, to the “genuine daughters of the people brim[ming] over with the frank enjoyment of low life,” to the frail young lower-middle-class girl whose father has died, leaving her to support herself and her mother as best she can in a “respectable” trade (, , ).

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