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Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880–1922
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 (ISBN-13: 9780511058226 | ISBN-10: 0511058225)

In Modernism and Cultural Conflict, Ann Ardis questions commonly held views of the radical nature of literary modernism. She positions the coterie of writers centred around Pound, Eliot and Joyce as one among a number of groups in Britain intent on redefining the cultural work of literature at the turn of the twentieth century. Ardis emphasizes the ways in which modernists secured their cultural centrality, she documents their support of mainstream attitudes toward science, their retreat from a supposed valuing of scandalous sexuality in the wake of Oscar Wilde's trials in 1895, and the conservative cultural and sexual politics masked by their radical formalist poetics. She recovers key instances of opposition to modernist self-fashioning in British socialism and feminism of the period. Ardis goes on to consider how literary modernism's rise to aesthetic prominence paved the way for the institutionalization of English studies through the devaluation of other aesthetic practices.

• Contributes to the current reappraisal of literary modernism's radicalness • Important study written by an established scholar • Will be of interest to twentieth-century cultural historians as well as scholars of modernism

Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction: rethinking modernism, remapping the turn of the twentieth century; 1. Beatrice Webb and the 'serious' artist; 2. Inventing literary tradition, ghosting Oscar Wilde and the Victorian fin de siècle; 3. The Lost Girl, Tarr, and the 'moment' of modernism; 4. Mapping the middlebrow in Edwardian England; 5. 'Life is not composed of watertight compartments': the New Age's critique of modernist literary specialization; Conclusion: modernism and English studies in history; Select bibliography; Index.

Review

'Ardis has … written a provocative and illuminating book that should be read by all cultural and social historians hoping to gain a sense of the new versions of modernism being explored today.' Cultural and Social History

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