Fictions of Autonomy: Modernism from Wilde to de Man by Andrew Goldstone

By Andrew Goldstone

No point of modernist literature has attracted extra passionate defenses, or extra livid denunciations, than its affinity for the belief of autonomy. A trust in artwork as a legislations unto itself is significant to the paintings of many writers from the past due 19th century to the current. yet is that this trust only a approach of denying art's social contexts, its roots within the lives of its creators, its political and moral obligations?

Fictions of Autonomy argues that the idea that of autonomy is, to the contrary, crucial for figuring out modernism traditionally. Disputing the existing skepticism approximately autonomy, Andrew Goldstone exhibits that the pursuit of relative independence inside society is modernism's specific manner of in relation to its contexts. Modernist autonomy is grounded in connections to servants and audiences, getting older our bodies and cloth wardrobe offerings; it joins T.S. Eliot to Adorno as exponents of overdue sort and Djuna Barnes to Joyce as anti-communal cosmopolitans. Autonomy finds new affinities throughout an expansive modernist box from Henry James and Proust to Stevens and de guy. Drawing on Bourdieu's sociology, formalist examining, and old contextualization, this booklet exhibits autonomy's range--and its limitations--as a modernist mode of social practice.

Nothing lower than an issue for a wholesale revision of the assumptions of modernist reviews, Fictions of Autonomy is usually an intervention in literary idea. This ebook exhibits why somebody attracted to literary heritage, the sociology of tradition, and aesthetics must take account of the social, stylistic, and political importance of the matter, and the capability, of autonomy.

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Extra resources for Fictions of Autonomy: Modernism from Wilde to de Man

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I argue for the intimate relationship between some versions of aesthetic autonomy INTRODUCTION 19 and modernist transnationalism in chapter 3; I show some of the ways autonomy doctrines have been important to the survival of the modernist enterprise even after World War II in chapter 4 and in the epilogue; and I emphasize the self-reflexivity that creates continuities between the fictions of autonomy in modernisms imaginative genres and the theories of autonomy in its critical ones throughout the book.

AUTONOMY FROM LABOR 33 This interplay between the semiotics of service and the semiotics of artistic style is redoubled for fictional servants, no matter how conventionalized those servants are. Indeed, as Bruce Robbins observes in The Servants Hand, his study of service in the Victorian novel, literary servants' aesthetic qualities are only heightened when writers draw on the long history of literary conventions in the representation of domestics. As Robbins says, the stylized servant becomes "a sort of permanent residue, always already anachronistic ...

Wilson, Axel's Castle, 211. 17. Villiers, Axel, 190. " Axel, 2:677. 18 Isolated in individual middle- or upper-class homes, servants were unlike other members of the working class in their working conditions, their compensation (lower cash wages being to some degree balanced by room and board as well as livery in some cases), and the fact that their labor neither produced nor sold any tangible good. 19 The increasingly anachronistic position of servants, therefore, can even augment a Wildean atmosphere of aristocratic disdain for the scrabbling materialism of modern life.

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