In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS and political terms, the war poetry of BLAST II compares favorably with much that was published elsewhere. He further argues that it is more productive to read the Vorticists "celebration of annihilation as the fullest proof of manly life" in the light of their complicity with Government ideology than as foreshadowing fascist modernism. The book's final chapter is devoted to an analysis of "fictions of national character" in Wyndham Lewis's novel Tarr. Peppis stresses the importance of its original appearance in Dora Marsden and Harriet Shaw Weaver's "Individualist Review," The Egoist, and points out how Lewis deliberately questioned the movement's central doctrine of the free and autonomous ego, insisting instead on the "chaos and complexity of personal identity, social life, and modern literature." According to Peppis , Tarr undermines both the Individualist account of nationality as a non-essential cultural by-product and the determinist view of nationality as the unalterable product of heredity. He proposes a re-valuation of the novel as a "powerfully oppositional work" in ideological terms and an important modern text in terms of its formal achievements. All in all, Literature, Politics, and the English Avant-Garde makes a respectable contribution to the literature on modernist politics. Peppis does not theorize in a historical vacuum but admirably achieves his goal of "complicating" both the established positive and negative readings of the British avant-garde by the careful analysis of the cultural and political context, paying particular attention to public discourse as found in contemporary periodical literature. One criticism of the book might be that it shows signs of having been conceived in terms of separate articles , so that a certain amount of artificial padding is required on the part of the author to turn it into a coherent whole. Also, Peppis's style is not the most economical and he might have put a little more trust in the reader to follow his argument without putting up verbal signposts at every turn. Neither criticism, however, seriously detracts from the book's considerable value. Odin Dekkers ______________ Delft, The Netherlands Companion to Modernism Michael Levenson, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. 246 pp. Paper $19.95 DESPITE the attractive cubistic painting Homage to Malevich by the Hungarian artist BeIa Kadar on the cover, editor Michael Leven197 ELT 45 : 2 2002 son and Cambridge University Press evidently only had AngloAmerican literary modernism in mind in this "guide to the revolutionary cultural transformations of the first decades of the twentieth century" (back cover). This circumscribed Companion does not move far beyond the verbal arts. Even Glenn MacLeod's useful essay on the visual arts is addressed to "those whose primary interest is modern British and American literature" (194). This limitation should be borne in mind. A student of modernist music, let's say, will not find much of specific interest here, and with a few local exceptions the other essays follow the editorial line. This is a companion limited to Anglo-American literary modernism between 1890 and 1939—the dates of its chronology section. Modernism as a specifically international, national, or even ethnic expression is not considered. The Harlem Renaissance, for example, gets a page and a half. There are no modernisms here in Peter Nicholl's plural sense. There are ten essays, including Levenson's brisk introduction as well as a chronology and a sizeable list of further reading. Their authors include some of this generation's liveliest scholar-critics, including Michael Bell on "the Metaphysics of Modernism," Lawrence Rainey on modernism's "cultural economy," Marianne Dekoven on gender, and James Longenbach on poetry. Christopher Innes writes on drama, Michael Wood does film. David Trotter assays the novel, Sara Blair the "politics of culture," and Glenn MacLeod reports on the visual arts (actually , only painting). There are no essays on music, dance, or architecture. The Companion ought to be companionable, but the requirement that it be a guide for students as well as an "original contribution to scholarship " has proven a problem in maintaining a consistent tone. For example MacLeod's piece on the visual arts is excellent precisely because it is not trying to be an...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 197-202
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.