The Cinema and the Origins of Literary Modernism: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Cinema and the Origins of Literary Modernism

1st Edition

By Andrew Shail


268 pages | 29 B/W Illus.

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Modernist writing has always been linked with cinema. The recent renaissance in early British film studies has allowed cinema to emerge as a major historical context for literary practice. Treating cinema as a historical rather than an aesthetic influence, this book analyzes the role of early British film culture in literature, thus providing the first account of cinema as a cause for modernism.

Shail’s study draws on little-known sources to create a detailed picture of cinema following its ‘second birth’ as both institution and medium. The book presents a comprehensive account of how UK-based modernism originated as a consequence of—rather than a conscious aesthetic response to—this new component of the cultural landscape. Film’s new accounts of language, endeavor, time, collectivity and political change are first considered, then related to the patterns that comprised modernist texts. Authors discussed include Ford Madox Ford, Joseph Conrad, Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, H.D., James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson.


"It is difficult to do justice to the richness of each of these chapters. Each one contains fine discriminations and subtle distinctions." - Terry Caesar, English Literature in Transition 1880-1920

Table of Contents

Introduction: From ‘The Cinematograph’ To ‘The Pictures’ 1: The Cinema of Narrative Integration, The End of Impressionism, and the Rise of Modernism 2: Cinema’s Continuous Present and Modernist Temporality 3: Mass Consciousness and Mass Cinema 4: The Picture Personality and The Modernist Turn to Epic Afterword: "A Picture Feverishly Turned"

About the Author

Andrew Shail is Lecturer in Film in the Department of English at Newcastle University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies, it engages with topics such as philosophy, science, race, gender, film, music, and ecology. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism