Get A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in PDF

By Jed Esty

ISBN-10: 0691115486

ISBN-13: 9780691115481

ISBN-10: 0691115494

ISBN-13: 9780691115498

ISBN-10: 1400825741

ISBN-13: 9781400825745

This publication describes a huge literary tradition stuck within the act of changing into minor. In 1939, Virginia Woolf wrote in her diary, ''Civilisation has shrunk.'' Her phrases captured not just the onset of worldwide warfare II, but additionally a longer-term reversal of nationwide fortune. the 1st finished account of modernism and imperialism in England, A Shrinking Island tracks the joint eclipse of modernist aesthetics and British strength from the literary experiments of the Thirties throughout the upward thrust of cultural experiences within the 1950s.

Jed Esty explores the consequences of declining empire on modernist form--and at the very which means of Englishness. He levels from canonical figures (T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf) to influential midcentury intellectuals (J. M. Keynes and J.R.R. Tolkien), from cultural reports pioneers (Raymond Williams and E. P. Thompson) to postwar migrant writers (George Lamming and Doris Lessing). targeting writing that converts the aptitude power of the contracting British country into the language of insular integrity, he argues that an anthropological ethos of cultural holism got here domestic to roost in late-imperial England. Esty's interpretation demanding situations renowned myths in regards to the demise of English literature. It portrays the survivors of the modernist iteration now not as aesthetic dinosaurs, yet as contributors within the transition from empire to welfare nation, from metropolitan paintings to nationwide tradition. blending literary feedback with postcolonial conception, his account of London modernism's end-stages and after-lives offers a clean tackle significant works whereas redrawing the strains among modernism and postmodernism.

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G. Frazer’s encyclopedic mythography, The Golden Bough (a famous source text for both Eliot and Lawrence). A stream of people, ideas, objects, and aesthetics was flowing from the exotic fringes toward the metropolis, shaping and inflecting modernist form. Along these lines, Kumkum Sangari suggests this summary of metropolitan culture: “the freewheeling appropriations of modernism also coincide with and are dependent on the rigorous documentation, inventory, and reclassification of ‘Third World’ cultural products by the museum/library archive.

C. Powys and Charles Williams). Eliot and Forster experimented with the production of pageant-plays, while Woolf’s final novel, Between the Acts, takes a village pageant as its central subject. Few critics have taken account of this antiquarian, distinctly unmodernist genre, but its sudden prominence points up key dimensions of English modernism’s closing chapter. Modernist interest in folk-dramatic forms no doubt reflects at some level the need to establish alternative public ceremonies to the corporatist rituals of fascist Europe (and to mass cultural forms at home), but this renewed interest in native and Anglocentric rituals also takes shape within the broader logic of the anthropological turn.

Both have a common prehistory and also common enemies in the narrow formations and groupings, whose striving for self-preservation set them in conflict with the broad and general 34 CHAPTER ONE on the outside, as well as the freely mobile and individual on the inside. . It is not only the immediate size of the area and population which, on the basis of world-historical correlation between the increase in the size of the social unit and the degree of personal inner and outer freedom, makes the metropolis the locus of this condition.

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A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England by Jed Esty


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