Abstract

Modernism’s frequently discussed antipathy towards mass culture might be seen as continuous with its distrust of the welfare state, insofar as both mass culture and the welfare state figure versions of collective modern agency at odds with modernism’s typically conservative, individualistic response to modernity. Seen from this perspective, modernism lies on a historical trajectory both with postmodernism’s putatively more open approach to mass culture and with neoliberalism’s now triumphantly mainstream celebration of individualism and critique of institutions. While we can identify other versions of modernism in authors like James Joyce and John Dos Passos, we might also look to the far less prestigious medium of the comic book, and in particular the superhero genre, to begin to map an alternative vision of aesthetic engagement with modernity — one that wrestles with the contradictions of but remains nonetheless committed to collective actions on behalf of the common good.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 115-125
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-08
Open Access
No
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