Rochelle Rives’s Modernist Impersonalities: Affect, Authority, and the Subject and Christina Walter’s Optical Impersonality: Science Images, and Literary Modernism move modernist impersonality away from its usual definition as a formalist technique employed by select male poets and toward a more expansive sense of the term as including different modes of being that exceed subjectivity. Rives explores how modernists respond to the impersonal influences of space, objects, and emotions by either re-inscribing authoritarian forms or accepting this loss of control as part of a liberating politics. Walter takes a more focused approach in considering how modernists use the material limits of vision to access impersonal dimensions of embodiment that exist outside of raced and gendered identity. Together, these books broaden our understanding of impersonality while also providing the impetus for further work on classifying the many varieties of impersonal experience.


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pp. 180-186
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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