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Modernism, Cultural Production, and the British Avant-garde
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  • Page extent: 272 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 700/.941/09041
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: NX543 .C65 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Arts, British--20th century
    • Modernism (Aesthetics)--Great Britain--History--20th century

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521835893 | ISBN-10: 0521835895)

Edward Comentale exposes the links between art, literature and early twentieth-century capitalism. Comentale shows how apparently progressive avant-garde movements in their celebration of individualism, competition and labor worked hand in hand with a market defined by a monstrous increase in production and consumption. Most importantly, he unearths an alternative modernist practice based on a special kind of production that both critiques and challenges economic production at large. He goes on to argue that the British avant-garde, which has often been criticized for its emphasis on classical stasis and restraint, sought to halt this market activity and to think of less destructive ways of communal belonging. Comentale provides an interdisciplinary study examining art and sculpture as well as writing by Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot and H. D. among others, in the light of psychoanalytic, economic and political theory. This book will be of interest to scholars of literary and cultural modernism.

• An interdisciplinary study of the relation between art, literature and the capitalist market • Contains original research on letters and diaries written during World War One • Examines revolutions in high art and sculpture in relation to more popular trends in early twentieth-century culture


Illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction: On the nature of being otherwise; Part I. Critique: 1. Fascism and/or liberalism: the avant-garde and modern capital; 2. 'No end, but addition': T. S. Eliot and the tragic economy of high modernism; Part II. Construction: 3. The modern temple: T. E. Hulme and the construction of classicism; 4. 'A fairly horrible business': labour, World War I, and the production of modern art; 5. Thesmophoria: suffragettes, sympathetic magic, and feminist classicism; Notes; Index.


Review of the hardback: 'This is a consistently, often astonishingly, interesting book …' Modernism/Modernity

Review of the hardback: '… a brilliant attempt to rescue one form of modernism (the 'classical') as against another, more problematic one (the 'romantic'). This is a bold move … stick with a book that makes a compelling case for its thesis … Comentale's book is an important one…' Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

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