The Contemporaneity of Modernism
Literature, Media, Culture
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At a juncture in which art and culture are saturated with the forces of commodification, this book argues that problems, forms, and positions that defined modernism are crucially relevant to the condition of contemporary art and culture. The volume is attuned to the central concerns of recent scholarship on modernism and contemporary culture: the problems of aesthetic autonomy and the specific role of art in preserving a critical standpoint for cultural production; the relationship between politics and the category of the aesthetic; the problems of temporality and contemporaneity; literary transnationalism; and the questions of medium and medium specificity. Ranging across art forms, mediums, disciplines, and geographical locations, essays address the foundational questions that fuse modernism and the contemporary moment: What is art? What is the relation between art and the economy? How do art and technology interpenetrate and transform each other? What is modernism’s logic of time and contemporaneity, and how might it speak to the problem of thinking genuine novelty, or the possibility of an alternative to the current stage of neo-liberal capitalism? What is modernism, and what is its history? The book is thus committed to revising our understanding of what modernism was in its earlier instantiations, and in accounting for the current moment, addressing the problems raised by modernism's afterlives and reverberations in the 20th and 21st centuries. The volume includes essays that consider literature, sociology, philosophy, visual art, music, architecture, digital culture, television, and other artistic media. It synthesizes the most recent thinking on modernism and contemporary culture and presents a compelling case for what happens to literature, art, and culture in the wake of the exhaustion of postmodernism. This book will be of interest to those studying literature, visual art, media studies, architecture, literary theory, modernism, and twentieth-century and contemporary culture more generally.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Contemporaneity of Modernism Michael D’Arcy and Mathias Nilges Part 1: Modernism’s Temporality 1. Abstract in Concrete: Brutalism and Modernist Half-Life C.D. Blanton 2. Our Last September: Climate Change in Modernist Time Douglas Mao 3. Time, Modernism, and the Contemporaneity of Realism David Cunningham Part II: Modernism’s Literary Afterlives 4. Relative Autonomy: Pierre Bourdieu and Modernism Andrew Goldstone 5. Impersonality and Institutional Critique Sarah Brouillette 6. Impressionism After Film Jesse Matz 7. Involutions of the Word: Lorrie Moore and Jonathan Lethem Joseph Brooker Part III: Modernism’s Global Economies 8. The Fidget Manifesto: Fast Capital, the Gesture, and Growth in Modernist Culture Enda Duffy 9. "The Highways of Empire": Geopolitics, Modernism, and Committed Reading Thomas S. Davis 10. "La furia de la materia’: On the Non-Contemporaneity of Modernism in Latin America Eugenio Di Stefano and Emilio Sauri Part IV: Modernism’s Media 11. To Burn or not to Burn: Modernism’s Photographic Exposures Michael D’Arcy 12. The Plain Viewer Be Damned: Or, Modernism on TV Nicholas Brown 13. Modernist Binge-Watching Michaela Bronstein 14. Modernist Poetics After Twitter, Inc. Lisa Siraganian Afterword David James
Michael D'Arcy is Associate Professor of English at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada.
Mathias Nilges is Associate Professor of English at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada.