“Insightful perspectives on a diverse selection of modernist-era writers, thinkers, and artists, providing scholars and teachers of literary modernism with a fresh, vital contribution to the evolving field of modernist studies.”—Emily M. Hinnov, coeditor of Communal Modernisms: Teaching Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture in the Twenty-First-Century Classroom
“Engaging. The editors have assembled a fine international roster of scholars, and the essays are well researched and well argued. The topic of modernist community is timely and of wide interest to the field of modernist studies.”—Janet Lyon, author of Manifestoes: Provocations of the Modern
Marked by a rejection of traditional affiliations such as nation, family, and religion, modernism is often thought to privilege the individual over the community. The contributors to Modernist Communities across Cultures and Media question this assumption, uncovering the communal impulses of the modernist period across genres, cultures, and media.
Contributors show how modernist artists and intellectuals reconfigured relations between the individual and the collective. They examine Dada art practices that involve games and play; shared reactions to the post–World War I rhetoric of Woodrow Wilson; the reception of James Joyce’s Ulysses in Harlem Renaissance circles; the publishing platform of the Bengali literary review Parichay; popular radio shows and news broadcasts; and the universal aspects of film-viewing. They also explore radical reimaginings of community as seen in the collective cohabiting envisioned by Virginia Woolf, the utopian experiment of Black Mountain College, and the communal autobiographies of Gertrude Stein.
The essays demonstrate that these pluralist ecosystems based on participation were open to paradox, dissent, and multiple perspectives. Through a transnational and transmedial lens, this volume argues that the modernist period was a breakthrough in a rethinking of community that continues in the postmodern era.
Caroline Pollentier is assistant professor of English at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle–Paris 3. Sarah Wilson, associate professor of English at the University of Toronto, is the author of Melting-Pot Modernism.