1st Edition

Beyond the Victorian/ Modernist Divide Remapping the Turn-of-the-Century Break in Literature, Culture and the Visual Arts

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    Beyond the Victorian/ Modernist Divide contributes to a new phase in the Victorian-modern debate of traditional periodization through the perspective lens of literature and the visual arts. Breaking away from conventionally fixed discourses and dichotomies, this book utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to examine the existence of overlaps and unexplored continuities between the Victorians, the post-Victorians and the modernists, including the fields of music, architecture, design, science, and social life. Furthermore, the book remaps the cultural history of two critical meta-narratives and their interdependence – the myth of "high modernism" and the myth of "Victorianism" – by building on recent scholarly work and addressing the question of the "turn of the century break theory" with a new set of arguments and contributions.

    The essays presented within acknowledge the existence of a break-theory in modernism, but question this theory by re-contextualising it while uncovering long-masked continuities between artists, genres and forms across the divide. The collection offers a new approach to modernism, Edwardianism, and Victorianism; utilizing the cross-fertilisation of interdisciplinary approaches, and by combining contributions that look forward from the Victorians with other contributions that look backward from the modernists. While literary modernism and its vexed relationships with the nineteenth century is a central subject of the book, further analysis includes artistic discourses and theories stemming from history, the visual arts, science, music and design. Each chapter offers a fresh interpretation of individual artists, navigating away from characteristic classifications of works, authors and cultural phenomena. Ultimately, the volume argues that though periodization and genre categories play substantial roles in this divide, it is also essential to be critically aware of the way cultural history has been, and continues to be, constructed.

    Table of contents

    Anne Besnault-Levita and Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada: Introduction

    Part I Questioning Labels and Periodization: Toward New Literary Genealogies

    1 Melba Cuddy-Keane: Crossing the Victorian/Modernist Divide: From Multiple Histories to Flexible Futures

    2 Anne Besnault-Levita: Victorian Gothic and Gothic Modernism: Remapping Literary History across the Centuries

    3 Georges Letissier: Between the "English nuvvle" and the "Novel of Aloofness": Charles Dickens’s Proto-(High) Modernism

    4 Charlotte Jones: Impressions of Modernity: May Sinclair, Ford Madox Ford and the First World War

    5 Lee Anne M. Richardson: Currents of Art and Streams of Consciousness: Charting the Edwardian Novel

    6 Marie Laniel: "Reading the Two Things at the Same Time": Victorian Modernism in To the Lighthouse

    Part II Art History and the Visual Arts across the Victorian/Modernist Divide

    7 Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada: The Greek Body and the Formalist Quest across the Divide: From Aestheticism to Bloomsbury Painting

    8 Liz Renes: The Velazquez Aesthetic: John Singer Sargent, Impressionism, and Victorian Modernism

    9 Anna Antonowicz: Pioneers of Modern Design: From the Cole Circle to Walter Gropius

    Part III Interdisciplinary Approaches

    10 Kathryn Holland: Dorothy Bussy, the Strachey Family, and Sapphic Literature

    11 Catherine Lanone: An Entomology of Literature: Male Taxonomies and Female Antennae from Mrs Gaskell to Virginia Woolf

    12 Frances Dickey: Victorian Song across the Modernist Divide: From Edmund Gosse to T.S. Eliot

    13 Laura Marcus: Rhythm and the Measures of the Modern


    Anne Besnault-Levita is Senior Lecturer at the University of Rouen where she teaches English literature; she is also the Vice-president of the French Virginia Woolf. In 1997, she defended her Phd Dissertation on The Short Stories by Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf and Elizabeth Bowen, at the University of Paris III- Sorbonne Nouvelle and obtained first class honours. She is the author of Katherine Mansfield: La voix du Moment (Paris: Messène, 1997), and co-editor of Construire le sujet. Textes réunis et édités par Anne Besnault-Levita, Natalie Depraz et Rolf Wintermeyer (Limoges: Lambert Lucas, 2014) and of The Journal of the Short Story in English 64 (Spring 2015), Part One: The Modernist Short Story. She is currently working on a book on Virginia Woolf’s conception of literary history.

    Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada is Associate Professor at the University of Rouen. She defended a PhD on Hellenism and Greece in Walter Pater’s works at Paris -7-Denis Diderot (received with highest honours) and has published articles on Pater, Wilde and Victorian "classical / Aesthetic" painting. She has co-edited Écrire l’art / Writing Art: Formes et enjeux du discours sur les arts visuels en Grande-Bretagne et aux Etats-Unis (Paris: Mare et Martin, 2015) She is currently writing a monograph on the figurations of Greece and the body in British paintings of Antiquity (1860-1900) and their reception in art criticism and periodicals.