The Body Politic in Pain
Feb 23, 2023
Literary modernism has a close relationship with pain, though not an untroubled one. To make a very general comparison, pain is to literary criticism today what illness was to literature for Virginia Woolf, and likewise betrays an under-interrogated dualism. “Literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind,” Woolf writes, and so “this monster, the body, this miracle, its pain , will soon make us taper into mysticism, or rise, with rapid beats of the wings,...
Modernist Centenaries, Anniversaries, and Commemorations
Dec 15, 2022
On January 24, 1922, in a series of correspondence about the edits to The Waste Land , just over a week before James Joyce’s Ulysses would be published, Ezra Pound wrote from Paris to T. S. Eliot that “It is after all a grrrreat littttterary period.”  2022 has been a year of commemoration in modernist studies, looking back at the key works of high modernism’s annus mirabilis from their centenaries....
Reading Modernism in the Sixth Extinction
Oct 7, 2022
1914—a year that looms large in modernist studies for many reasons, including the beginning of the First World War, the “Men of 1914” variant of literary modernism, and the publication of landmark works such as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (in serial form), Tender Buttons , and Des Imagistes —also marks the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Martha, the species endling, died of old age at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1.
Modernism and Science Fiction
May 19, 2022
This cluster takes as its theme the entwinement of modernisms and science fiction, alternative and counterstories, against a planetary backdrop. One is a mode of cultural production that in its early years frequently positioned itself as a consciously elitist pursuit, which only those with the most advanced knowledge and understanding would appreciate, and the other is modernism. Virginia Woolf's response to SF author Olaf Stapledon's book suggests that they share significant concerns and...