Reconnecting Aestheticism and Modernism: Continuities, Revisions, Speculations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Reconnecting Aestheticism and Modernism

Continuities, Revisions, Speculations, 1st Edition

Edited by Bénédicte Coste, Catherine Delyfer, Christine Reynier


210 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138640771
pub: 2016-10-14
SAVE ~$31.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315636450
pub: 2016-10-04
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Charting the period that extends from the 1860s to the 1940s, this volume offers fresh perspectives on Aestheticism and Modernism. By acknowledging that both movements had a passion for the ‘new’, it goes beyond the alleged divide between Modernism and its predecessors. Rather than reading the modernist credo, ‘Make it New!’, as a desire to break away from the past, the authors of this book suggest reading it as a continuation and a reappropriation of the spirit of the ‘New’ that characterizes Aestheticism. Basing their arguments on recent reassessments of Aestheticism and Modernism and their articulation, contributors take up the challenge of interrogating the connections, continuities, and intersections between the two movements, thus revealing the working processes of cultural and aesthetic change so as to reassess the value of the new for each. Attending to well-known writers such as Waugh, Woolf, Richardson, Eliot, Pound, Ford, Symons, Wilde, and Hopkins, as well as to hitherto neglected figures such as Lucas Malet, L.S. Gibbon, Leonard Woolf, or George Egerton, they revise assumptions about Aestheticism and Modernism and their very definitions. This collection brings together international scholars specializing in Aestheticism or Modernism who push their analyses beyond their strict period of expertise and take both movements into account through exciting approaches that borrow from aesthetics, philosophy, or economics. The volume proposes a corrective to the traditional narratives of the history of Aestheticism and Modernism, revitalizing definitions of these movements and revealing new directions in aestheticist and modernist studies.

Table of Contents


[Bénédicte Coste, Catherine Delyfer and Christine Reynier]

Part I: Connecting Aestheticism and Modernism

1. The New Woman Flâneuse or Streetwalker? George Egerton’s Urban Aestheticism

[Tina O’Toole]

2. Re-crediting Arthur Symons, Decadent-Modernist Literary Ghost

[Elisa Bizzotto]

3. Modernists as Decadents: Excess and Waste in G. M. Hopkins, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Others

[Rainer Emig]

4. From Periphery to Centre: The Female Writer in Walter Pater and Virginia Woolf

[Lene Østermark-Johansen]

5. Literary Cosmopolitans and Agents of Mediation: Oscar Wilde and Fin-de-siècle Viennese Artistic Networks

[Sandra Mayer]

Part II: Revising Assumptions about Aestheticism and Modernism

6. Wet Aesthetics: Immersion versus the ‘perfect imbecility’ of the Stream in Dorothy Richardson’s Pilgrimage

[Rebecca Bowler and Scott McCracken]

7. Artist Stories of the 1890s: Life, Art, and Sacrifice

[Elke D’hoker]

8. Aestheticism and Utilitarianism. A Victorian Debate and its Critical Legacy

[Emmanuelle De Champs]

9. ‘Dangerous thoughts in Bloomsbury’: Ethical Aestheticism and Imperial Fictions

[Christine Froula]

Part III: Speculative Orientations in Aestheticism and Modernism

10. Speculative Modernism

[Stephen Ross]

11. The Modernist Trajectory of Economics

[Mary Poovey]

12. Speculating on Art in Fin-de-siècle Fiction

[Catherine Delyfer]

13. Bogus Modernism: Impersonation, Deception and Trust in Ford Madox Ford and Evelyn Waugh

[Rob Hawkes]

14. Ownership and Interpretation: on Ezra Pound’s Deluxe First Editions

[Michael Kindellan]

About the Editors

Bénédicte Coste is Professor of English at the University of Burgundy, France. She has published on Victorian literature and culture, aestheticism and decadence, Arnold, Pater, Symonds, Wilde and Symons. She is the author of Walter Pater, esthétique (2011); Walter Pater, critique littéraire (2010) and has co-edited Aesthetic Lives (2013).

Catherine Delyfer is Professor of English at the University of Toulouse, France. Her publications focus on fin-de-siècle culture and late-Victorian female writers. She is the author of Art and Womanhood in Fin-de-Siècle Writing: the Fiction of Lucas Malet (2011) and the co-editor of Aesthetic Lives (2013).

Christine Reynier is Professor of English at the University Paul Valéry Montpellier, France. She has published extensively on modernist writers, edited books and journals on Woolf, published a monograph, Woolf's Ethics of the Short Story (2009), and has recently co-edited, Reframing the Modern Short Story, Journal of the Short Story in English 64 (Spring 2015).

About the Series

Literary Texts and the Popular Marketplace

In the past, the critics and writers who formulated the boundaries of the literary canon in British literature restricted its membership to ‘high culture’ and the ‘highbrow’. Writers whose work lies outside these selectively applied parameters of literary taste and value have been assigned to the derogatory category of ‘middlebrow’ or ‘popular’ literature. Some of these writers were rejected from the canon by their willing embrace of popular appeal, and their openness to a wide readership. Many texts were not included because they were written by women, addressed women’s concerns, or because they were concerned with middle- and working-class values and aspirations that were inimical to the literature of high culture. Other categories that have been disadvantaged by the institutional application of canonicity in British literary culture include regionality, the literature of impairment, political stance, and writers of colour.

This series offers monographs and edited collections of essays that examine the extents and effects of writing that resists the regulation of the canon. Crossing both cultural and geographic boundaries, this series brings together studies of texts, writers, readers, producers, and distributors. It will highlight current debates about the politics of mainstream readerships and media, about the designation of audiences and material methods of circulation, and will address contemporary critical concerns. By attending to how these texts resist the ‘high’ cultural imperative the works in this series make it possible to learn how culture is commodified for particular classes, and the role that gender and social class play in the production of those categories.

Manuscripts should be in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 words. Proposals should be eight to ten pages in length and should include a brief overview of the relevant scholarship in the field, the contribution which your work will make, a breakdown of the contents by chapter, an account of the number and type of illustrations, a brief survey of competing works, to whom the proposed book could be marketed, and the intended audience. Proposals should include a minimum of two sample chapters.

Please send all queries and proposals to the series editors, Kate Macdonald ( and Ann Rea (, for preliminary review.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 20th Century
PHILOSOPHY / Aesthetics