The Modernist Novel: A Critical Introduction
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Leading scholar Stephen Kern offers a probing analysis of the modernist novel, encompassing American, British and European works. Organized thematically, the book offers a comprehensive analysis of the stunningly original formal innovations in novels by Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Proust, Gide, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Kafka, Musil and others. Kern contextualizes and explains how formal innovations captured the dynamic history of the period, reconstructed as ten master narratives. He also draws briefly on poetry and painting of the first half of the twentieth century. The Modernist Novel is set to become a fundamental source for discussions of the genre and a useful introduction to the subject for students and scholars of modernism and twentieth-century literature.
of each other “they poured into her little gravely-gazing soul” (42). The novel depicts new modes of child abuse – not by a cruel aunt ( Jane Eyre), a violent stepfather (David Copperfield ), or a conniving villain (Oliver Twist), but by the child’s own cruel, violent, and conniving parents along with their second spouses. James innovates formally by seeing exclusively through Maisie’s consciousness. Here and throughout James conflates vision and knowledge. In the Preface, James explains that he
Cambridge University Press, 2001), 78–79. 56. “In Hardy, Conrad, and Ford, in Gertrude Stein, Joyce, and Lawrence, in Woolf and Faulkner, the parent is a mere alleged author, one who stupidly refused to admit that genealogical relations or family lines are factitious structures or ‘creations,’ that family is a misleading name for anarchy, and that generation and filiation are substitutes for significance.” Robert Caserio, Plot, Story, and the Novel: From Dickens and Poe to the Modern Period
them . . . pieces that never make of them a whole one, not because of complication in them, not because of difficulty envisaging them but because really such of them are in pieces inside them” (MA, 311). Later she gives up identifying a bottom nature: “Perhaps not any one really is a whole one inside them to themselves” (519). In contrast to her novel’s title, she actually crafts the unmaking of an American family. The Hersland family declines from personal and historical experience including
transitional in that it allows readers a glimpse into psychic interiority when the narrator in Howards End (1910) explains how Margaret Schlegel desired that “public life should mirror whatever is good in the life within” in contrast to the outer life that governs public events.19 That distinction is articulated with unintended self-mockery by Henry Wilcox, who, to apologize for a clumsy first kiss he lands on Margaret, explains, “I am not a fellow who bothers about my own inside.” Henry is a
ways.36 The relocation to inner consciousness was not a “disintegration of the outer world,” as Georg Lukács charged, but a way of accessing that world most directly and presenting it most vividly.37 Woolf dramatized the decline of Western civilization in the war through the mind of Septimus Smith as he relived the trauma when his friend Evans was killed. Faulkner recreated the decline of the Compson family through the agitated mind of Quentin fantasizing about his sister. In Fräulein Else