Adam Hammond is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. He is author of Literature in the Digital Age (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and co-author of Modernism: Keywords (Wiley-Blackwell, 2014).
Modernism has an image problem.
For the most part, the modernists themselves are to blame. Privately, they grumbled about “the inconceivable stupidity of the common reader.” Publicly, they promised to make “no compromise with the public taste.” Many prominent modernists, at points in their lives, were loudly elitist, racist, classist, sexist, imperialistic, and militaristic (let’s call it ERCSIM, pronounced “irksome”).
But modernist scholars are to blame as well.