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This Companion has long been a standard introduction to the field. This second edition is updated and enhanced with four new chapters, addressing the key themes being researched, taught and studied in modernism. Its interdisciplinary approach is central to its success as it brings together readings of the many varieties of modernism. Chapters address the major literary genres, the intellectual, religious and political contexts, and parallel developments in film, painting and music. The catastrophe of the First World War, the emergence of feminism, the race for empire, the conflict among classes: the essays show how these events and circumstances shaped aesthetic and literary experiments. In doing so, they explain clearly both the precise formal innovations in language, image, scene and tone, and the broad historical conditions of a movement that aspired to transform culture.
This second edition of The Cambridge Companion to Modernism, with its new and revised chapters, engages fully with recent changes in our understanding of a major cultural episode. In the first decade of this century, Modernist studies have at once widened and deepened. An actively engaged community of scholars has produced more ambitious acts of contextualization, more inclusive histories, and more precise readings of formidable works. We have more Modernism now, as well as more flexible and perspicuous ways of interpreting it.
Still we call it Modernism, and this despite the anomaly of holding to such a name for an epoch fast receding into the cultural past. "Modernism" has now become the unstable name of a period in the beginning of a previous century, too distant even to serve as a figure for the grandparent. Uneasily but inevitably, we have reached a time when many feel the obsolescence of a movement still absurdly wearing such a brazen title. The temptation, much shown in recent years, has been to dance beyond the reach of the aging, dying giant, to prove that one can live past the epoch marked by such names as Joyce and Woolf, Stein and Eliot, Eisenstein and Brecht, Freud and Marx. Certainly, many forces have joined to change the vectors of a new millennial culture. But the imperative to declare a new period and to declare ourselves citizens of a liberated postmodernism has distorted and sadly simplified the moment it means to surpass.
The Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment (CIBER) is a rocket-borne absolute photometry imaging and spectroscopy experiment optimized to detect signatures of first-light galaxies present during reionization in the unresolved IR background. CIBER-I consists of a wide-field two-color camera for fluctuation measurements, a low-resolution absolute spectrometer for absolute EBL measurements, and a narrow-band imaging spectrometer to measure and correct scattered emission from the foreground zodiacal cloud. CIBER-I was successfully flown in February 2009 and July 2010 and four more flights are planned by 2014, including an upgrade (CIBER-II). We propose, after several additional flights of CIBER-I, an improved CIBER-II camera consisting of a wide-field 30 cm imager operating in 4 bands between 0.5 and 2.1 microns. It is designed for a high significance detection of unresolved IR background fluctuations at the minimum level necessary for reionization. With a FOV 50 to 2000 times larger than existing IR instruments on satellites, CIBER-II will carry out the definitive study to establish the surface density of sources responsible for reionization.
T. S. Eliot planned for a place in the public sphere, well before he enjoyed its mixed blessings. Questions of cultural power and literary influence appeared in his letters soon after he arrived in London, and his developing career cast the issue of the public intellectual in a revealing light, because it so quickly raised the question of what constitutes a ‘public’. Within the small universe of experimental modernism, he soon established a name, a voice and a reputation. His work on the Egoist, his essays in the Athenaeum and the Times Literary Supplement (see Chapter 10), and his friendships (above all, with Ezra Pound) gave him a minor but significant stature. Yet the anonymity of much of this critical writing and the wartime circumstances, while providing occasions to enter the arena of critical judgement, kept his early reputation narrow.
Eliot's academic studies in philosophy involved a wide course of reading in anthropology, comparative religion and psychology. Even after abandoning his doctoral dissertation in 1916, he kept an interest in a range of intellectual and technical disciplines. This analytic turn for conceptual thinking combined with a facility for polemical writing: both would assist his rise to prominence. Eliot understood the social power of concepts. Strategic definitions, outflanking arguments and the tone of philosophical authority secured his reputation. In 1919, Eliot published two key essays, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ and ‘Hamlet and His Problems’, which established the sound of a public voice.
The present chapter offers an account of James’s passage through London at the end of the nineteenth century, when the metropolis was as agitated as the author’s career, and when the pressures of modernization intersected with his own vocation of modernity. During the last years of the century James’s ruminations about urban life met his self-consciousness about literary ambition. London was more than the context for his maturing career; it was a subject, even a protagonist, of his narratives; it was a source of incident and image; it affected much of his critical thinking and also his ongoing self-invention as a modern writer.
James’s essay on ‘London’ (1888) is a complex text that looks back to the ambitious novel of two years before, The Princess Casamassima, but also ahead to the circumstances of London life in the century’s final decade. The essay unfolds under the sign of affirmation, with James cheerfully naming himself a ‘London-lover’ (CTW-1, 18) who glories in the pleasure that the city has afforded him. The emphasis falls on the invigorating magnitude of the urban field: ‘The immensity was the great fact, and that was a charm; the miles of housetops and viaducts’ (15); the eye is ‘solicited at any moment by a thousand different objects’ (19); ‘there is no such thing as the whole of it. It is immeasurable – embracing arms never meet’ (35).
Early in Stephen Hero, the ambitious young Stephen Daedalus expresses confidence by noting ‘some movement proceeding “out in Europe”’ (SH 35). Even in the midst of fierce proud individuality, he acknowledges here the power of others who are equally determined to transform the basis of culture. There can be no doubt that for Joyce too the bid for an artistic vocation depended on the consciousness of inhabiting a wide modernist milieu. Crucially, though, for Joyce, as for his avatar Stephen, the ferment was ‘out’ beyond Ireland, a source of confirmation and inspiration, but at a great remove from his national and local world. It will be the burden of this chapter to locate Joyce within an emerging and maturing modernism. Part of the task will be to show the changes in the wider culture that affected (and were affected by) Joyce's own work. But the central task will be to indicate strains of experiment that he may have ignored or repudiated but that help to place him within the broader episodes of modernism.
By the time Joyce came to intellectual self-consciousness in the last years of the nineteenth century, it was easy to recognise, but also still easy to deny, the provocations that Daedalus notices ‘out in Europe’. Yet these provocations had their own complex history. It is first of all worth remembering that before it was a movement of difficult formal experiment, modernism was a challenge in the realm of ideas, a counter-ideology.
George Orwell's four novels of the 1930s could only have been written in that decade. As he left them behind, he often wondered how they could have been written at all. Orwell composed the books - Burmese Days (1934), A Clergyman's Daughter (1935), Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936) and Coming Up for Air (1939) - with an intense consciousness that he was writing after the heady days of modernism and beneath its shadow. At the same time he never allowed himself to forget the degraded social reality that surrounded his literary work, a recognition of imminent catastrophe. This double sense - literary belatedness, social emergency - pervades the novels. It accompanies a third condition, which is simply Orwell's conviction that novel-writing should be his vocation. This point should not be taken for granted. Orwell holds to his vocation despite the fact that his early fictions continually failed, especially in his own estimation, and that he had a successful parallel career as a documentary journalist. The book-length journalism of the 1930s - Down and Out in Paris and London (1933), The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) and Homage to Catalonia (1938) - has had a far more prominent afterlife than the fiction, and the first two of these books gained significant recognition when they first appeared. Yet Orwell continued to write novels in the face of his failure, or at best quite limited success.
When you thought of Time in those days your mind wavered impotently like eyes tired by reading too small print.
(Ford Madox Ford, A Man Could Stand Up)
It takes it out of you, certainly, Time.
(Wyndham Lewis, The Childermass)
This extraordinary discrepancy between time on the clock and time in the mind is less well known than it should be and deserves fuller investigation.
(Virginia Woolf, Orlando)
The British Modernist novel did not discover time in the years after the World War I. Before Modernism, outside Britain, and in other genres, the mysteries of temporality had disclosed themselves. Within the English novel, Sterne’s Tristram Shandy and Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights are luminous and unforgettable precedents. But there can be little doubt that in the first post-war decade, at a moment of vaulting ambition in the High Modernist novel, time became such a dominant concern that it can be taken as a cultural signature. In the years after the war, it ceased to be a background for literary events, an invisible medium surrounding the enactment of a plot. It became rather a fully thematised subject in its own right – a fact that can be seen in the epigraphs to this chapter, where time becomes an upper-case abstraction, indeed a protagonist as real as the fictive human agents.
At the outset we need to distinguish three aspects of the problem: (1) the time of modernisation that surrounds and permeates the literary experiments; (2) the representation of temporality within the fictional world; and (3) the forms and structures of narrative time.