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Modernism, Nationalism, and the Novel


  • Page extent: 252 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.383 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521033022)

In Modernism, Nationalism, and the Novel, first published in 2000, Pericles Lewis shows how political debates over the sources and nature of 'national character' prompted radical experiments in narrative form amongst modernist writers. Though critics have accused the modern novel of shunning the external world, Lewis suggests that, far from abandoning nineteenth-century realists' concern with politics, the modernists used this emphasis on individual consciousness to address the distinctively political ways in which the modern nation-state shapes the psyche of its subjects. Tracing this theme through Joyce, Proust and Conrad, amongst others, Lewis claims that modern novelists gave life to a whole generation of narrators who forged new social realities in their own images. Their literary techniques - multiple narrators, transcriptions of consciousness, involuntary memory, and arcane symbolism - focused attention on the shaping of the individual by the nation and on the potential of the individual, in time of crisis, to redeem the nation.

• Modernism is one of the strongest areas of the list • A very topical theme, one that fuses political discourse and literary criticism • Wide range of canonical authors analysed - Joyce, Conrad, Proust


Acknowledgments; Note on texts; 1. The modern novelist as redeemer of the nation; 2. The crisis of liberal nationalism; 3. 'His sympathies were in the right place': Conrad and the discourse of national character; 4. Citizens of the Plain: Proust and the discourse of national will; 5. 'Il vate nazionale': D'Annunzio and the discourse of embodiment; Conclusion; Notes; Select bibliography; Index.


'Lewis's portrayal of early-modernist fiction's relation to nation compellingly raises important questions and issues that others will want to pursue.' Irish Studies Review

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