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Thursday, February 7, 2013


How about "anomalous modernity"?

With the caveat the modernity is always anomalous. It is the introduction of jarring new elements into a system. It is always uneven, ambivalent, ambiguous, fractured, weird, and intimidating. A place that modernizes later than other places (in other words, just about everywhere except a few places) will have more anomalies. That is where to study literary modernism. Why, for example, does England have a weaker literary modernism than anywhere else, with only two major writers (Woolf and Lawrence)? One writer from St. Louis went there and pretended to be British, but let's not count him.


Anonymous said...

Why does France have so much modernism or is it not one of the early modernizers?

Jonathan said...

They are anomalous because they are earlier, maybe. French modernism goes from Baudelaire to Bataille. I'll have to figure this out.

Professor Zero said...

OK, pioneers would make sense. It is rough to be first. So England is the one on a normal speed and therfore it doesn't have modernism, and US modernism is also more bland for this reason? England and US are the only normal?

(My issue with all of this periodization, early and late, etc., is that so often the timelines seem not to work when you look closely.)

Vance Maverick said...

Did this just trail off? I'd be curious to learn more. (I'm perpetually re-confused by our monthly issue of Dwell, however pleasant, because it seems to think "modernism" consists of founders alla Corbu and a golden age alla Neutra and the Eameses.)