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ELT 45 : 2 2002 you wish talkies had never been invented. In these essays we experience the sorrows of modernism in the modern wilderness. The Cambridge Companion to Modernism is rather like modernism in the movies. It hasn't made up its mind about its audience. Scholars will be too aware of what's left out; students won't know what they are missing. Such a collection is both necessary and impossible, too general and too narrow. No companion can be a friend to everyone, Levenson notes shrewdly at the end of his introduction, but as there are ten companions here, most readers should be able to make friends with one or two of them. Alec Marsh ______________ Muhlenberg College Modernism & Nationalism Pericles Lewis. Modernism, Nationalism and the Novel. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. χ + 241 pp. $59.95 IN THIS BOOK Pericles Lewis shows how political debates over the sources and nature of national character gave rise to radical experiments in narrative form in modernist literary works. In the introductory chapter, "The modern novelist as a redeemer of the nation," Lewis shows that his study aims to address the connection between modernist novelists ' experiments with form and their attempts to rethink the values and institutions associated with the sovereign nation-state. He takes as an example the way in which Stephen Dedalus personifies this figure of redemption . Furthermore, his analysis proves how other modernist novelists such as Conrad, Proust and D'Annunzio used their own experience to describe nationality in terms of race. For Lewis, the modernist novel does not reject external reality, but rather concerns itself with the relationship between the individual consciousness and the external reality that it confronts. In fact, several modernist novelists found in the idea of the national consciousness a means of mediating between the apparently hostile and meaningless social world and the meaningful but powerless consciousness of the individual novelist-hero. These modernist novelists attempted to achieve a mystical union with the spirit of their nations. Thus, in the modernist novel, the possibility of regaining Paradise on Earth becomes central and the nation becomes the means for this redemption. Lewis's study is comparative in nature, as it underlines the common problems facing novelists in four very different Western European po202 BOOK REVIEWS litical contexts as well as the unique intellectual and political concerns brought up by each of the major modernist novelists that his study addresses . For Lewis, the increasingly problematic role of the narrator in modernist novels exemplifies the changing conception of the nationstate around the turn of the century. The individual is a product of racial or historical forces which she does not control. However, by embracing the fact of her having been produced by a particular race and culture, the individual can achieve a mystical union with her race that will turn the individual's determination into a source of freedom. In the second chapter, "The crisis of liberal nationalism," Lewis shows how from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of war most of the countries in Western Europe experienced the growth of modern forms of nationalism as a threat to the established order of the liberal nation-state. Lewis focuses here on the crisis of the idea of the nation-state within late nineteenth-century liberal systems, and how tensions within liberal governments manifested themselves after the apparent liberal-democratic triumphs of the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884 in England and the founding of the Third Republic in France. Two crucial discourses are highlighted here: the discourses of character and that of will, which would shape the narrative techniques of Conrad and Proust respectively. The political context of the crisis of liberal nationalism was the struggle over the definition of the nation and its relationship both to the colonized peoples and to minorities within the nation that led to a reshaping of formal politics in England and France. Lewis suggests that the varieties of liberalism that had their roots in the Enlightenment were undermined over the course of the nineteenth century by evolutionary and historicist modes of social thought that emphasized the often irrational role that the national community played in the establishment...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 202-205
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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