Literature, Modernism and Myth: Belief and Responsibility in the Twentieth Century

Overview

Modernist literature attempted to discover through myth an underlying metaphysic to an increasingly fragmented world. In Literature, Modernity and Myth Michael Bell examines the relationship between myth, modernism and postmodernism. Bell shows how modernists used myth to emphasise the contingency of all values. This anti-foundational element, Bell claims, enables myth to act as a corrective to the political claims of ideological critique. He shows how postmodern concerns with political and social responsibility ...
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Overview

Modernist literature attempted to discover through myth an underlying metaphysic to an increasingly fragmented world. In Literature, Modernity and Myth Michael Bell examines the relationship between myth, modernism and postmodernism. Bell shows how modernists used myth to emphasise the contingency of all values. This anti-foundational element, Bell claims, enables myth to act as a corrective to the political claims of ideological critique. He shows how postmodern concerns with political and social responsibility have in fact been inherited from modernism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This study makes an original contribution to ongoing debates in literary criticism.' Manuscript

'Bell manages to successfully place these traditions within a lively dialogue of modern Britain and America, whilst also laying to rest the fashionable criticisms about myths.' Anglia Newspaper for English Philology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521035347
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Myth in the age of the world view 9
2 Varieties of modernist mythopoeia 41
W. B. Yeats: 'in dreams begin responsibilities' 41
James Joyce's Ulysses: Trieste - Zurich - Paris 1914-1922 67
D. H. Lawrence: 'Am I out of my mind?' 93
3 Countercases: T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound 120
T. S. Eliot: Religion versus myth 122
Odysseus unbound: the Cantos of Ezra Pound 128
4 The Politics of modernist mythopoeia 148
Joseph Conrad and the 'Africa' within 148
5 The break-up of modernist mythopoeia 161
Novel, story and the foreign: Thomas Mann, Cervantes, and Primo Levi 161
6 Living with myth: Cervantes and the new world 182
Alejo Carpentier: recovering the marvellous in The Kingdom of this World 182
Myth and fiction in Gabriel Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude 195
7 Living without myth: deconstructing the old world 199
Believing in the allegators: Thomas Pynchon and urban legend 199
Ideology and confidence: flights of fancy in Angela Carter's Nights at the Circus 211
Conclusion: ideology, myth and criticism 225
Notes 232
Select Bibliography 247
Index 257
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