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BOOK REVIEWS vors are shown to have receded "into a space of amnesia, replaced both... by the 'glorious dead'... and by those civilians who [like Lawrence] offered themselves as new voices for the war's pain." CHIARA BRIGANTI __________________ Carleton College Make It New Kurt Heinzelman, ed. Make it New: The Rise of Modernism. Austin: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, 2003. 155 pp. 126 color plates. Paper $29.95 MAKE ITNEW arose from the exhibition of the same name held at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, from 21 October 2003-7 March 2004. The book is a collage of images and essays; the dialogue created by this collage is stimulating and provocative, taking its cue not only from Pound's famous exhortation but from the observation of the seminal Pound critic Hugh Kenner that modernism is so sprawling and complex that no single individual can ever come to terms with it. To that end, Make it New brings together many writers, artists, and scholars to wrestle with the leviathan that is modernism. The collection looks at Ulysses and the Eiffel Tower, Fascism and Rhapsody in Blue, photography and the typewriter and radioactivity. The old and the new come into confrontation, and one does not supplant the other but rather transforms and is transformed. In his foreword Thomas F. Staley, Director of the Ransom Center and notable modernism scholar, writes that the exhibition book "attempts to capture in essence the texture, structure , context, and dimensions of the most dominant aesthetic movement of the last century." Yet, as those who work on modernism well know, and as this book makes clear, modernism is more than an aesthetic movement. Modernism is the moment when artists realized they could revise the past or destroy it, and that whether they would or no, the changes being wrought in culture and society were such that revision—revisioning—would happen. Boundaries were expanded, made permeable, broken, transgressed , and the fluidity of this catalog captures that quality in the polyphony of the texts both verbal and visual presented here. Modernism was also a cultural moment, created and marketed with some degree of self-consciousness, as recent cultural materialist discussions have shown us. Make it New examines the confluence offerees and changes that allowed for that moment, as well as the conscious efforts to take advantage of them. 345 ELT 48 : 3 2005 One could argue that, in defining modernism in so many ways, in looking at so many permutations and artifacts of early twentieth-century life and culture and calling them "modernism," Make it New is broadening the definition and discussion so as to make it untenable: what isn't modernism? Yet the book is valuable in its rediscovery and redefinition of modernism, in its opening up of the categories of modernism and the way we read and understand them. It situates seminal texts and works within the seismic social, scientific, and political changes of their time. It places those works into dialogue with lesser-known works, and it examines them not only as "art" but as cultural productions. Modernism is thus viewed here from the perspective of cultural materialism and as such the process of creating and curating modernist texts is rendered transparent; the viewer is given a window into a system of cultural production, marketing, and interpretation. One is conscious of the retrospective quality of an exhibition and catalog examining modernism. More than three-quarters of a century later we are still grappling with this beast. It informs our literature, our art, our world and our responses to it, our ways of reading and our ways of seeing. As a movement and a moment it is constantly undergoing redefinition and réévaluation, the boundaries and categories it itself subverted being ever expanded to encompass more and more. Those curators and writers involved with this project are very aware of this past and their place in it; they seek to situate themselves in and against modernism as artists and scholars. This is evident in the structure of the catalog. The book is framed at the beginning and the end with a series of essays. The first group of essays is called...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 345-348
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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