This collection, first published in 1982, brings together thirteen writers from a wide variety of critical traditions to take a fresh look at Joyce and his crucial position not only in English literature but in modern literature as a whole. Comparative views of his work include reflections on his relations to Shakespeare, Blake, MacDiarmid, and the Anglo-Irish revival. Essays, story and poems all combine to celebrate the major constituents of Joyce’s work – his imagination and comedy, his exuberant use of language, his relation to the history of his country and his age, and his passionate commitment to ‘a more veritably human tradition’. This title will be of interest to students of literature.
In the hands of Jewish literary communists - themselves engaged in transgressing cultural boundaries - the figure of the Jewish gangster provides an occasion to craft a virile Jewish masculinity, to consider the role of vernacular in literature, to interrogate the place of art within a political economy, and to explore the fate of Jewishness in the "new worlds" of the United States and the Soviet Union."--BOOK JACKET.
William Blake is one of the most important influences on twentieth-century literature. This study will ask why he is a figure central to the Modernist re-definition of past art. He also appears to be an acceptable sage for postmodernists, he can be associated with an opposition to authority without imposing one version of his own mythology.
Androgyny in Modern Literature engages with the ways in which the trope of androgyny has shifted during the late nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. Alchemical, platonic, sexological, psychological and decadent representations of androgyny have provided writers with an icon which has been appropriated in diverse ways. This fascinating new study traces different revisions of the psycho-sexual, embodied, cultural and feminist fantasies and repudiations of this unstable but enduring trope across a broad range of writers from the fin de siècle to the present.
Is terrorism's violence essentially symbolic? Does it impact on culture primarily through the media? What kinds of performative effect do the various discourses surrounding terrorism have? Such questions have not only become increasingly important in terrorism studies, they have also been concerns for many literary writers. This book is the first extensive study of modern literature's engagement with terrorism. Ranging from the 1880s to the 1980s, the terrorism examined is as diverse as the literary writings on it: chapters include discussions of Joseph Conrad's novels on Anarchism and Russian Nihilism; Wyndham Lewis's avant-garde responses to Syndicalism and the militant Suffragettes; Ezra Pound's poetic entanglement with Segregationist violence; Walter Abish's fictions about West German urban guerrillas; and Seamus Heaney's and Ciaran Carson's poems on the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. In each instance, Alex Houen explores how the literary writer figures clashes or collusions between terrorist violence and discursive performativity. What is revealed is that writing on terrorism has frequently involved refiguring the force of literature itself. In terrorism studies the cultural impact of terrorism has often been accounted for with rigid, structural theories of its discursive roots. But what about the performative effects of violence on discourse? Addressing the issue of this mutual contagion, Terrorism and Modern Literature shows that the mediation and effects of terrorism have been historically variable. Referring to a variety of sources in addition to the literature—newspaper and journal articles, legislation, letters, manifestos—the book shows how terrorism and the literature on it have been embroiled in wider cultural fields. The result is not just a timely intervention in debates about terrorism's performativity. Drawing on literary/critical theory and philosophy, it is also a major contribution to debates about the historical and political dimensions of modernist and postmodernist literary practices.
This book is the first major study that explores the intrinsic connection between music and myth, as Nietzsche conceived of it in The Birth of Tragedy (1872), in three great works of modern literature: Romain Rolland’s Nobel Prize winning novel Jean-Christophe (1904-12), James Joyce’s modernist epic Ulysses (1922) and Thomas Mann’s late masterpiece Doctor Faustus (1947). Juxtaposing Nietzsche’s conception of the Apollonian and Dionysian with narrative depictions of music and myth, Josh Torabi challenges the common view that the latter half of The Birth of Tragedy is of secondary importance to the first. Informed by a deep knowledge of Nietzsche’s early aesthetics, the book goes on to offer a fresh and original perspective on Ulysses and Doctor Faustus, two world-famous novels that are rarely discussed together, and makes the case for the significance of Jean-Christophe, which has been unfairly neglected in the Anglophone world, despite Rolland’s status as a major figure in twentieth-century intellectual and literary history. This unique study reveals new depths to the work of our most enduring writers and thinkers.
A history of fragmentary—or interrupted—writing in avant-garde poetry and prose by a renowned literary critic. In Interruptions: The Fragmentary Aesthetic in Modern Literature, Gerald L. Bruns explores the effects of parataxis, or fragmentary writing as a device in modern literature. Bruns focuses on texts that refuse to follow the traditional logic of sequential narrative. He explores numerous examples of self-interrupting composition, starting with Friedrich Schlegel's inaugural theory and practice of the fragment as an assertion of the autonomy of words, and their freedom from rule-governed hierarchies. Bruns opens the book with a short history of the fragment as a distinctive feature of literary modernism in works from Gertrude Stein to Paul Celan to present-day authors. The study progresses to the later work of Maurice Blanchot and Samuel Beckett, and argues, controversially, that Blanchot's writings on the fragment during the 1950s and early 1960s helped to inspire Beckett’s turn toward paratactic prose. The study also extends to works of poetry, examining the radically paratactic arrangements of two contemporary British poets, J. H. Prynne and John Wilkinson, focusing chiefly on their most recent, and arguably most abstruse, works. Bruns also offers a close study of the poetry and poetics of Charles Bernstein. Interruptions concludes with two chapters about James Joyce. First, Bruns tackles the language of Finnegans Wake, namely the break-up of words themselves, its reassembly into puns, neologisms, nonsense, and even random strings of letters. Second, Bruns highlights the experience of mirrors in Joyce’s fiction, particularly in Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses, where mirrored reflections invariably serve as interruptions, discontinuities, or metaphorical displacements and proliferations of self-identity.