Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880-1922 by Ann L. Ardis

By Ann L. Ardis

Ann Ardis questions as a rule held perspectives of radical modernism on the flip of the 20th century. She depicts the "men of 1914," (as Wyndham Lewis referred to as the coterie of writers situated round Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and James Joyce) as just one between a few teams reason on redefining the cultural ambitions of British literature on the flip of the 20 th century. concurrently, Ardis reclaims key examples of non-modernist aesthetic attempt linked to British socialism and feminism of the interval.

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What needs to be mapped instead is a turn-of-the-twentieth-century cultural landscape in which “literature” and “science” are both recognized as what Gillian Beer has termed “open fields”: fields whose claims to authority over their “quasi-objects” of study were developed through the fragile “networks of truth production” they established and the cultural projects they worked to naturalize. What needs to be articulated as well is a critical methodology for English studies that acknowledges rather than suppresses this kind of disciplinary instability.

If any science save the arts were able more precisely to determine what the individual does actually desire, then that science would be of more use in providing the data for ethics. In like manner, if any sciences save medicine and chemistry were more able to determine what things were compatible with physical wellbeing, then those sciences would be of more value for providing the data of hygiene. (, ) On the one hand, it could be argued that Pound is simply echoing Emile Zola’s appropriation of Claude Bernard’s exposition of the scientific method in “The Experimental Novel” ().

I want to examine here why Webb tried so hard to assume “the professional, ‘scientific’ stance of the male social investigator, suppressing her gender and sense of vulnerability”; why this sets her up for attack by literary modernists anxious about the cultural capital of their own writing; and finally how this antagonism between the grande dame of Fabian Socialism and the London literary avant-garde epitomizes the “gendering of intellectuality” at the turn of the century, opening a window on the stakes involved in the professionalization of literary study and “serious” art.

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