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Chapter 1 - Liberalism

from Part I - 1900–1945: Ideas and Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2022

Christos Hadjiyiannis
Affiliation:
University of Cyprus
Rachel Potter
Affiliation:
University of East Anglia
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Summary

E. M. Forster, Ford Madox Ford, T. E. Hulme, and T. S. Eliot all engaged in their critical and creative works with Edwardian liberalism: with the reformist policies of the Liberal Party in England (which came to power in 1905), with the New Liberal ideas on which these policies were based, but also and more broadly with the much older philosophical and political outlook of liberalism. The works and theories of these early modernists were written in direct response to liberal ideas old and new, with even anti-liberal ‘classical’ modernists such as Hulme and Eliot embracing fundamental liberal values (while of course rejecting many others). A consideration of Forster’s short story ‘The Other Side of the Hedge’ (1904), Ford’s 1912 poem ‘Süssmund’s Address to an Unknown God’, Hulme’s essays in The Commentator (1911–12), and Eliot’s programmatic essay ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ (1919) shows how, much as with many other contradictory facets of literary modernism, the relationship of modernism to liberalism was close, uneasy, and foundational.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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