The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and by Michael North

By Michael North

The Dialect of Modernism uncovers the an important position of racial masquerade and linguistic imitation within the emergence of literary modernism. Rebelling opposed to the traditional language, and literature written in it, modernists, comparable to Joseph Conrad, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams reimagined themselves as racial extraterrestrial beings and mimicked the suggestions of dialect audio system of their paintings. In doing so, they made attainable the main radical representational techniques of contemporary literature, which emerged from their assault at the privilege of normal language. even as, although, one other flow, pointed out with Harlem, was once suffering to unfastened itself from the very dialect the modernists appropriated, a minimum of because it were rendered through generations of white dialect writers. For writers akin to Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Zora Neale Hurston, this dialect turned a barrier as inflexible because the ordinary language itself. hence, the 2 glossy hobbies, which arrived concurrently in 1922, have been associated and divided via their varied stakes within the similar language. within the Dialect of Modernism, Michael North exhibits, via biographical and historic research, and during cautious readings of significant literary works, that in spite of the fact that varied they have been, the 2 activities are inextricably attached, and hence, can't be thought of in isolation. every one was once marked, for strong and undesirable, by means of the opposite.

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Extra resources for The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth-Century Literature (Race and American Culture)

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A "gentleman" whose hypercorrectness of speech leads him to misuse the word infer meets a shapeless mob. The climax, in a way, of this fairly shapeless bit of modernist vaudeville is the confrontation between six "coalblack figures" in full minstrel regalia, singing to an invisible jazz band, and John Rutter, "President pro tem. " Rutter is, in brief, one of the "linguistic thought police" let loose by Richard Grant White and egged on by Robert Underwood Johnson. "147 This object symbolizes what Rutter, despite his name, does not have, what he fears, and what his language in all its convoluted Latinate obscurity attempts to hide.

3) is the main character’s first name and a call to dinner, since the latter is not translated or even referred to for another seventy pages. It almost seems as if Conrad confronts his readers with these unexplained foreign sounds at the very threshold of his first work to emphasize the radical difference of what is to follow. Far less challenging is a Malay word that had become English so that it could signify the weirdness of the foreign: amok. No travelogue of Malaya was complete without a little essay on the quaint native custom of "running amok," a tradition toward which Conrad gestures once in Almayer’s Folly and twice in Karain, where it is spelled both amok and amuck (AF, p.

In Goonetilleke’s opinion, Conrad solves this problem by fashioning "an English equivalent for the Malayan vernacular of his characters... "17 Conrad’s dialogue does seem less artificial than that concocted by Hugh Clifford, to whose superior knowledge of Malaya Conrad obsequiously bowed, and yet it still contains such twisted idioms as "You get him away as you can best" (AF, p. 18 The responsibility for such mistakes floats intriguingly between Conrad and his characters. Another, more clearly purposeful, technique is to smatter the text with a few Malay words, like the shouted "Makan" that begins Almayer’s Folly.

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