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Modernism’s Contemporary Affects

Modernist Affects and Contemporary Literature

Fig. 1. Gerhard Richter, Woods (1), 2005, oil on canvas, 77 5/8 x 52 in. Museum of Modern Art, New York; image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

A moment in cultural “time,” as Jonathan Lethem has suggested, “is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted,” because the “character of an era hangs upon what needs no defense.”[1] In part, Lethem’s statement helps us to explain why we find “the contemporary” at once so critically slippery and yet practically self-evident. Pushing somewhat more explicitly against Lethem’s own grain, we might also say that he reveals how easy it is to take the very character of contemporaneity for granted, since it will always be impossible to pin down—always remain in a state of perpetual “drift,” to borrow Theodor Martin’s keyword from his ambitious attempt to historicize the present.[2]  It can be just as reassuring to take for granted the idea of modernism flourishing beyond mid-century, in ways that facilitate conversations about its continuity and about its potential to describe the “character” of eras in which modernist production has hitherto not been located. Few would deem this inclination for expansion a bad thing, of course. And if modernism’s cartographic and diachronic enlargement arrogates intellectual capital to those objects or conditions it (newly) designates, then this process of adding value is analytically enriching and enabling. That modernism today seems more geohistorically widespread and generically mobile is a testament to how scholars are challenging us to apprehend why and where modernist innovations still happen: what they politically and formally mean in different hemispheric contexts; how they depart from Eurochronological frames of artistic influence and advancement; how the very “language and structure of modernism,” in Simon Gikandi’s words, allowed “a postcolonial experience” to become “articulated and imagined in literary form”; and how specific practices of modernism in the present might continue to effect radical change through oppositional modes of cultural production.[3]

The Hunger for Timeliness

But modernism’s longevity may also disclose certain critical impulses that arguably say just as much about the affective energies of championing modernism’s terminological adaptability as about the precise aesthetic, historical, or ideological anatomy of modernism’s myriad practices and remediations. The temporal and spatial vectors of these desires overlap: a hunger for timeliness begins with an appetite for omnipresence. Modernism’s politico-ethical prescience seems at once inescapable and indispensable by the lights of its transnational prevalence. As impulses go, expansion is thus a product of laudable intellectual passions not simply an inevitable, organic result of the field’s shifting interpretive priorities or continuous collective and institutional development. The impulse to regard modernism “as a maximal rather than restricted phenomenon,” as Thomas Davis and Nathan Hensley have shrewdly pointed out, reveal “fluctuations of critical scale” that enact methodologically the present mood of “affiliation and disaffiliation” that’s generated institutionally within modernist studies as field.[4] As that field liberates the meanings of modernist production on a global scale, multiple moments have displaced accounts of modernism as a historically localizable set of movements. In comparable ways, modernism and the contemporary each remain in productive flux, lithely refusing conceptual stagnation.

These terms are not the cosiest of bedfellows, however. The rationale for modernism’s critical primacy has gained some traction for scholars who urge modernist studies to adopt more radical modes of self-definition. Susan Stanford Friedman, for instance, envisions such change with the aid of “multiple, recurrent, and polycentric modernities,” concepts which, she claims, “have more explanatory power for understanding the matrix of rapid change in the late twentieth-/twenty-first-centuries than an emphasis on ‘postness’ in postmodernity or the distinctively ‘now’ of contemporaneity.[5]  That Friedman insists elsewhere that we “interrogate the slash” that fuses modernism with modernity while here leaving the slash intact between postwar and postmillennial decades suggests that well-intentioned elongations of modernism can run the risk of eliding the socio-temporal particularity of those new eras they embrace (Friedman, Planetary Modernisms, 52). One could be forgiven, therefore, for assuming that in current critical discourse “modernism has absorbed most of the twentieth century,” as Jean-Michel Rabaté remarks, “that it goes back deep into the nineteenth century and that it has moreover swallowed postmodernism.”[6]

However enthusiastically or sceptically one views modernism’s new epithetic travels, and whatever the pitfalls of disciplinary enlargement as such, it’s hard to row back from critical expansionism without sounding retrogressive (even though there’s nothing inherently radical, politically speaking, about advocating modernism’s cartographical or cultural-historical ubiquity). After all, what field wouldn’t want to expand, to see its conventional optics displaced, its vocabularies translated, its conceptual bedrocks thoroughly shaken? In examining how forms of affect are not only among modernism’s aesthetic legacies for contemporary writing but are also integral to the way we speak about modernism’s endurance in the cultural present, this Print Plus cluster invites us to consider how the will-to-enlarge modernism’s geohistorical portfolio, to liberate it from the perceived straightjackets of periodization, speaks to certain disciplinary desires that have received less critical reflection than the very concept to which they are attached.

Numerous and not always complementary impulses underlie the perpetuation of modernism in scholarship on contemporary writing as a point of comparative reference for thinking about the politics of form, as a source of artistic influence (or repudiation), or as an evaluative rubric for gauging the stakes of literary innovation. Those impulses may be as emotional as they are hermeneutically systematic: rather than positing a stable set of agreed coordinates for theorizing and historicising modernism anew, they reveal myriad sometimes-volatile methodological commitments. It’s not the primary purpose of this cluster to explain what such critical affects—as I have referred to them elsewhere—might alone reveal about the beliefs and urgencies surrounding the work of sustaining modernism’s presence in times, places, or practices that have (traditionally) been seen to succeed it.[7] But taken together, the contributors here invite us to ponder how the very process of reconsidering the institutions, disciplinary expansions, and affective afterlives of modernism compels some reflection on the intellectual contours that currently shape the field.

Performing and Adapting Modernist Affects

Even if they are not addressed from the perspective of the history of emotions or strictly informed by branches of affect theory itself, conversations about modernism’s contemporary continuities have often—fruitfully so—been understood in relation to the affects modernist literature inspires or enables. Recent debates among novelists and critics alike about the current mood and direction of postmillennial fiction, for instance, have often revolved around conjunctions of affect and form. Consider the so-called “neuro-novel,” which in the case of Will Self and Ian McEwan has actively thematized properties of mentation that triggered the stylistic experiments of early-twentieth-century literary impressionism.[8] Accounts of a so-called “new sincerity” in American letters transcribe the cultural shift to a post-ironic paradigm into modal shift affiliating writers such as Jennifer Egan, David Foster Wallace, and Colson Whitehead, who have broadly shared a “post-postmodern” ethos that mobilizes a “sturdy affirmation of nonironic values,” as Adam Kelly puts it, an ethos that thereby exemplifies a “renewed taking of responsibility of the meaning of one’s words.”[9]

Other affective dimensions of modernism’s persistence are even more conspicuously compositional. We might think here of the repurposing of perspectival expression as a vehicle for dissecting ethical problematics. The intricacies of moral apprehension and accountability associated with impressionist fiction find their postmillennial renaissance in writers as diverse as Garth Greenwell, Alan Hollinghurst, Zadie Smith, and Marilynne Robinson, as they share something of Virginia Woolf’s disposition to see in the impression “an intuition that is also a removal from immediate experience,” in Jesse Matz’s phrase, “a measure of imagination, a feeling obscure enough to become subject to thought’s designs.”[10] Far from an otiose exercise in pictorial embellishment, style in What Belongs to You (2016) The Line of Beauty (2004), NW (2012), and Gilead (2004) fulfills impressionism’s epistemological promise: the promise that would “stake” significant “meaning on the barest glimpse,” as Matz puts it, where “something substantial emerges” from “rudimentary awareness.”[11]

At the opposite end of the formal spectrum, Tom McCarthy’s promotion of affectively blank, non-empathetic, obsessive or seemingly two-dimensional characters—and his accompanying cultivation of recursive events and forms of transmission over immersive depictions of emotional interiority—fosters a singularly impersonal register in novels like Remainder (2006) and Satin Island (2015). McCarthy endorses a resolutely corrective avant-gardism that outlaws his reader’s sentimental attachments, militating against what he sees as the deceptive “humanist” depths and enticements of middlebrow realism.[12] In his view, the main “problem with the mainstream” novel “is that it’s gone off into some kind of naturalist, head-in-the-sand, ostrichlike hidey-hole—some kind of residual, consoling, retro-humanist fantasy.”[13] Whereas the “art world,” claims McCarthy, “has properly inherited the legacy not just of modernism but of centuries of culture that have been telling us again and again (and in an accelerated way in the twentieth century) that to be human is not to be some kind of abstract, free, spiritual ‘essence’ that then gets ‘expressed,’” the “literary world,” as he homogenizes it, has by contrast “got the wrong operational manual” (“Interview,” 676, 677). Fiction emerging from this stagnant scene is unlikely “to produce anything interesting,” insists McCarthy; by perpetuating complacent, affectively placating goals, literary production today has turned into “a branch of the entertainment industry” (677).

Finally—leaping creative sensibility again—we encounter in the criticism and fiction of Colm Tóibín a rather different stance on what contemporary literature’s conversation with modernism might contribute to its affective potentiality. Tóibín has offered a distinctly modest vision of the novel as an essentially “humble” creature, in his words, picturing the apex of formal adventurousness in terms of studied humility and emotive understatement.[14] Epitomizing that vision is Nora Webster (2014), a quiet novel of bereavement and maternal resilience in which Tóibín orbits and examines the supposition that elegantly elegiac descriptions might just compensate for the losses they evoke. A passionate reader of and commentator on Henry James, Tóibín deliberately departs from the elaborate syntax of Jamesian late style in this novel, producing instead a leanly articulated, assiduous record of grief that has more in common with what he calls the “calm austerity” of Elizabeth Bishop’s technique, a trait she shared with Hemingway’s “fierce simplicity.”[15] Pointing to a modernist practice of affective shrouding in Bishop, Tóibín finds in her poetry a self-disciplined “use of words in which emotion seems to be hidden, seems to lurk mysteriously in the space between” (On Elizabeth Bishop, 47). Nora Webster movingly inhabits that space as it probes the everyday dynamics of familial bereavement; refusing ornamentation just as confidently as it eschews sentimentality, it narrates the seemingly uneventful, pedestrian progression of its heroine’s movement from raw distress to fraught solace after the death of her husband, Maurice. Nora herself keeps close watch over the family’s apparent “helplessness,” routinely “measur[ing] her success with the boys by how much she could control her feelings.”[16] Scrupulous about identifying occasions where she could, discreetly, “let herself feel how much she had lost, how much she would miss,” Nora is conscious of her own self-protectiveness, feeling “nervous” whenever she notices “someone coming towards her ready to remind her of her loss” (Tóibín, Nora Webster, 7, 152). Thanks to this guardedness she sometimes “felt helpless and regretted not having said something kind or special or consoling” to those who attempt to share her family’s grief, to mitigate their sorrow (24). Beautifully spare, the novel tests what it means for fiction to counterpoint the void it so poignantly delineates, a test that modernism itself first carried out and whose legacy in the textures of Tóibín’s writing compels us to question the notion that modernist fiction’s virtuosic expression of loss “redeems the catastrophes of experience,” as Leo Bersani once polemically assumed, “by the violence of its symbolic reconstructions of experience.”[17]  Modernist elegy typically keeps a look out for gleams of resolution, and Tóibín—in dialogue with Bishop—adopts and hones the genre to inspect sorrow rather than to provide easy substitutions. Nora Webster performs that affective inspection without thwarting recovery’s fitful availability, its sudden and unlikely appearances, its emergence for the grieving Nora against all emotional and social odds.

In negotiating the alleged ineffability of mourning, Tóibín’s recent novel reminds us how, for many contemporary writers, some of modernism’s most affectively challenging yet incentivising legacies have surfaced in the purposes and controversies of formal innovation itself. For adventurous stylists like J. M. Coetzee, Jonathan Safran Foer, Eimear McBride, and W. G. Sebald, modernism has provided an ethically laudable set of resources for evoking trauma’s extremities, for tackling in virtuosic and heterodox forms seemingly indescribable damage. But with these writers’ celebrated synchronisation of technical ambition, social critique, ethical indictment comes the discomforting recognition that modernism’s renewable efficacy often rests precisely on its familiarity. As Paige Reynolds has astutely observed of McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing (2013), while the novel offers a relentless demonstration of how style can simulate psychic devastation, its visible affinity with a modernist genealogy of rupture and fragmentation affords critics a curious variety of assuagement. Throughout this harrowing novel the explicitly “shocking and lurid details accompanying the disturbing sexual encounters,” writes Reynolds, “confirm that McBride is not seeking . . . to perform modernist impersonality”; rather, “by adeptly adopting and adapting so many elements of modernist form,” McBride’s striking yet historically indebted linguistic innovations may in fact “offer a buffer for her readers.” As such, A Girl’s affective and aesthetic “use of modernism offers a prophylactic from intense absorption, keeping us at bay with its difficulty, its obfuscations, its knowing invocations of literary tradition.” Reynolds concludes that the very “armature of modernist intertextuality provides readers protection from identifying too closely with the protagonist’s abnegation”: formal experimentation in this case “thwarts our readerly empathy, engaging our intellects even as our emotions are pulled into the suffering of this young woman.” By virtue of “these overtly modernist formal maneuvers, McBride provides the reader, though not her character, the protections afforded by the literary, and by language.”[18]

Such a discrepancy between how we react to a novel’s radically disturbing content and why we might value—and be intellectually satisfied by—its equally radical form speaks to some of the reasons why an affective reading of modernism’s uses for the present is warranted. By the same token, part of our very response to such linguistically dynamic and emotionally devastating contemporaries as McBride must then include some deliberation on the stakes of preserving modernism, whether as aspiration or influence – an ongoing process of critical self-assessment that the contributors to this cluster aim from various perspectives to initiate.

Innovation and Accommodation

“To do its job perfectly well, [a truly pure modernist work],” argues Eric Hayot, “would have to be incomprehensible, not even recognizable as a work of art,” thereby embodying a total “rejection of the normative world-view of its era.”[19] None of us, I suspect, are in the business of celebrating the complete unrecognizability of those objects we’re employed to study and teach, not least in an era tightly adjudicated learning objectives and measurable outcomes. But the paradox to which Hayot gestures does find its counterpart in the way modernism’s affective presence in contemporary fiction, along with its durability as an object of study, relies precisely on its comprehensibility. Why else might critics find it worthwhile to hear formal harmonies across time, as the plethora of references to Beckett and Joyce exemplified in reviews of McBride’s effort to capture physical and psychological traumas in style? Forbidding though A Girl often is, McBride’s artistry testifies to modernism’s recognisability as a wellspring of creative audacity and resounding prestige, even as she confirms how enabling the radical alterity of modernist strategies can be for contemporary narratives of domestic violence. How else might we find it useful to trace, for instance, “political and aesthetic links between canonical modernist and contemporary postcolonial writing,” in ways that allow us, as Andrew van der Vlies advises, not only consider “the locations of work we group under that label, its institutions and implications,” but also how the literature of postcoloniality “stages the evaluation of [its own modernist] archive”?[20] Far from being a contradiction, the coincidence of familiarity and singularity may continue to facilitate rather than impede discussions of modernism’s afterlives in regional and world Anglophone contexts alike.

Few writers have done more to stage evaluations of their own archive of familiar modernist affinities than J. M. Coetzee, a novelist who ratifies that critical imperative, in Stephen Ross’s words, to “join an attitude of critique to formal experimentation as the defining nexus of modernism” and its postcolonial afterlives.[21] Coetzee’s degree of recognition and circulation among scholarly debates about the state of world fiction appears unmatched, even though what’s so recognizable is his impeccable elusiveness, his brilliant way of evading classification. A figure who feeds even as he foils his own academic appropriation, Coetzee has “fostered and confirmed the limitless enterprise of criticism,” as Elizabeth Anker observes, thereby “act[ing] as a screen” that “reflect[s] back the insights we as critics are preconditioned to see.” [22] His “novels frequently give the impression,” notes Anker, “of being crafted in anticipation of their own Norton Critical Editions,” thanks to which they “feel primed to gratify whatever explanatory paradigms we seek and already inhabit” (“Why We Love Coetzee,” 188). While it therefore “exemplif[ies] the seductions of theory,” Coetzee’s writing “equally problematizes a particular, narrow kind of reliance on it” (185). Because discussions of Coetzee today can give the impression that his work is somehow enshrined beyond critique, then it’s all the more reason to give an account of the critical satisfactions—that is, the affective rewards—his work so knowingly provides, including the satisfaction of observing how and where his prose “shares,” in van der Vlies’s phrase, “the disjunctive energies of its modernist antecedents” (Present Imperfect, 64).

Disjunction itself, of course, is a prime affect in critical maps of modernist afterlives. For we are used to thinking of modernism as comprising an archive of upheaval rather than gratification, giving expression to that which ultimately “engenders ‘disconsolation’ in us as readers,” as Neil Lazarus puts it. [23] And Lazarus is surely right to suggest that the “ongoing critical dimension of modernist literary practice” is likely to be found in contemporary writing “that resists the accommodationism of what has been canonized as modernism and that does what at least some modernist work has done from the outset: namely, says ‘no’; refuses integration, resolution, consolation, comfort,” and instead “protests and criticises” (Postcolonial Unconscious, 31). At the same time, however, isn’t there something equally consolatory—protective, to adapt Paige Reynolds’s phrase—about knowing that modernism remains in action? Doesn’t the persistence of modernism depend on at least some degree of “accommodationism” on the critic’s part, as we confirm the endurance of a dependable vocabulary for explaining the artistic pliability and political pertinence of modernist aesthetics in literature now, even if such appreciations never quite escape the paradox of appreciating the artistically new by way of recognizable precedents?

Contributors to this cluster don’t pretend, by any means, to answer all these questions or to provide a consistent and collectively agreed prospectus for future work in this area as a subfield of the new modernist studies. Rather, in the spirit of this platform’s invitation to continued discussion, the following papers offer short interventions that show how becoming attuned to modernism’s affective consequentiality has implications for engaging with the literary-historical, theoretical, formal, and professional facets of its contemporary reconceptualization—in ways that speak across creative practice and critical discourse.

Affective Forms, Critical Futures

That one can generally assume today that it’s more progressive to put modernism in motion than to situate it as a localizable set of historical movements may be reason enough to scrutinize how forceful our attachments are to the idea of modernism’s cultural, modal, and temporal inexhaustibility. As Stephen Ross has remarked, the very “metacritical problem” of determining what modernism can become is “one of discipline, of disciplinarity itself, and its interminable hashing-out marks a fundamental concern that in remaking modernist studies we may risk losing modernism.”[24]  This very sense of concern points to one aspect of the critical affects introduced here, which in turn shape the way we read for affect in contemporary literature’s formal and thematic responses to modernism. Such is the way in which “a desire to preserve the validity of what we do as modernist studies, even as we recognize the necessity and desirability of expanding its contours,” may inform what it is we desire in turn from those writers who invite us to fathom the historicity of literature’s lasting negotiations of modernism’s legacies (Ross, “Uncanny Modernism,” 33, emphasis in original).

We have yet “to identify,” claims Joseph Conte, “what the dominant of a twenty-first-century literature will be.” In place of a proliferation of isms or generic tendencies, he suggests that “the early millennial scene may be a phenomenological one of affect that revitalizes the cosmopolitan, holistic, empathic, organic, and pluripotential self.”[25] What the multiplying transcriptions, refusals, and recrudescent practices of modernism contribute to that scene of affective possibility is the matter taken up by this cluster. Reading for modernist affects, I’ve argued, can be dual-pronged: by registering how the formal procedures and thematic pursuits of contemporary writers extend modernism’s technical and ethical engagement with multiple dimensions of affective experience, we can fruitfully register too what the predilection for modernist revivals and recalibrations in postmillennial literature has to say about the sustainability of our field’s investment in modernism’s continuity. This binocular vision of modernist legacies can help us to recognize that “a measure of modernism’s exceptional level of generativity and its affective strength,” as Laura Winkiel instructively observes in her Afterword, reveals “the very way in which its wide-ranging aesthetic practices undermine any hard and fast story about it.” This implies that our critical options going forward need not have to choose between a weakly theorized concept of modernism irreducible to any delimited period and a strongly historicized federation of discrete moments of rupture, between globally capacious scale and bounded socio-aesthetic specificity. Rather, modernism may become less a site for endlessly competing definitions or clashing politico-methodological allegiances than a spur for collectively staging what Winkiel calls “a reappraisal of our own judgements.” Such self-assessment nowadays is surely more than a gesture; it couldn’t be more urgent at a time when the perpetually evolving disciplinary desires that modernist studies encompasses coincide with the increasing precarity of those educational institutions that make the fulfilment of our critical, vocational, and pedagogical values possible. By these lights, ongoing reconstructions of modernism today, however antagonistic, can usefully build into their very choices some deliberative scrutiny of what it is we want and hope modernism to become. Reading literary modernism’s genealogies of affect might in this sense be an occasion for reading its alternative futures. 



[1] Jonathan Lethem, “The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism,” in The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. (New York: Vintage, 2013), 93–120, 101.

[2] See Theodore Martin, Contemporary Drift: Genre, Historicism, and the Problem of the Present (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017).

[3] Simon Gikandi, “Preface: Modernism in the World,” Modernism/modernity 13, no. 3 (2006): 419–424, 420; see also Gikandi’s “Africa and the Epiphany of Modernism,” in Geomodernisms: Race, Modernism, Modernity, ed. Laura Doyle and Laura Winkiel (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005), 31–50.

[4] Thomas S. Davis and Nathan K. Hensley, “Scale and Form; or, What Was Global Modernism?Modernism/modernity Print Plus, vol. 2, cycle 4 (2018).

[5] Susan Stanford Friedman, Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity Across Time (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), 322. Emphasis in original.

[6] Jean-Michel Rabaté, “Introduction,” in A Handbook of Modernism Studies, ed. Jean-Michel  Rabaté (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 1–14, 11.

[7] See David James, “Critical Solace,” New Literary History 47, no. 4 (2016): 481–504.

[8] Marco Roth, “The Rise of the Neuronovel,” N+1 8 (2009). For an incisive treatment of the modernist genealogy of this subgenre of contemporary fiction, see Andrew Gaedtke’s articles “Neuromodernism: Diagnosis and Disability in Will Self's Umbrella,” Modern Fiction Studies 61, no. 2 (2015): 271–294, and “Cognitive Investigations: The Problems of Qualia and Style in the Contemporary Neuronovel,” NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 45, no. 2 (2012): 184–201.

[9] Adam Kelly, “The New Sincerity,” in Postmodern/Postwar–and After: Rethinking American Literature, ed. Jason Gladstone, Andrew Hoberek, and Daniel Worden (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2016), 197–208, 198.

[10] Jesse Matz, “Pseudo-Impressionism?” in The Legacies of Modernism: Historicising Postwar and Contemporary Fiction, ed. David James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 114–132, 118. For an account of how the moral poetics of modernism have informed postwar fiction’s ethical strategies, see Andrzej Gasiorek’s “‘A Renewed Sense of Difficulty’: E. M. Forster, Iris Murdoch, and Zadie Smith on Ethics and Form,” in The Legacies of Modernism, ed. David James (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), 170–186. See also Dorothy Hale’s “On Beauty as Beautiful: The Problem of Novelistic Aesthetics by Way of Zadie Smith,” Contemporary Literature 53, no. 4 (2012): 814–844.

[11] Jesse Matz, Lasting Impressions: The Legacies of Impressionism in Contemporary Culture (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), 230.

[12] For McCarthy’s latest critical defences of this anti-humanist and determinedly anti-realist aesthetic, see Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish: Essays (New York: NYRB, 2017).

[13] Tom McCarthy, “An Interview with Tom McCarthy,” by Matthew Hart, Aaron Jaffe, and Jonathan Eburne, Contemporary Literature 54, no. 4 (2013): 656–82, 675, 676, 677.

[14] “Compared to investigative journalism, history-writing, biography, or self-help books,” argues Tóibín, “the novel is a strange, humble, hybrid form; it is perhaps in its very humility, in its pure uselessness, in its instability, in its connection to the merely human that its grandeur lies” (Colm Tóibín, “Lust and Loss in Madrid,” The New York Review of Books, July 10, 2014, 66).

[15] Colm Tóibín, On Elizabeth Bishop (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015), 47. See also Colm Tóibín, All a Novelist Needs: Colm Tóibín on Henry James (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010);

[16] Colm Tóibín, Nora Webster (London: Viking, 2014), 6.

[17] Leo Bersani, The Culture of Redemption (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), 97.

[18] Paige Reynolds, “Trauma, Intimacy, and Modernist Form,” Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies, September 11, 2014.

[19] Eric Hayot, On Literary Worlds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 132.

[20] Andrew van der Vlies, Present Imperfect: Contemporary South African Writing (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 63.

[21] Stephen Ross, “Introduction: The Missing Link,” in Modernism and Theory: A Critical Debate, ed. Stephen Ross (New York: Routledge, 2009), 1–18, 7.

[22] Elizabeth S. Anker, “Why We Love Coetzee; or, The Childhood of Jesus and the Funhouse of Critique,” in Critique and Postcritique, ed. Elizabeth Anker and Rita Felski (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017), 183–208, 185.

[23] Neil Lazarus, The Postcolonial Unconscious (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 32.

[24] Stephen Ross, “Uncanny Modernism, or Analysis Interminable,” in Disciplining Modernism, ed. Pamela Caughie (New York: Palgrave, 2009), 33–52, 33.

[25] Joseph Conte, review of Postmodern/Postwar–And After, ed. Jason Gladstone, Andrew Hoberek, and Daniel Worden, Twentieth-Century Literature 64, no. 1 (2018): 120–127, 126. Emphasis in original.