Modernism and the Ideology of History: Literature, Politics, and the Past

Overview

Louise Williams explores the nature of historical memory in the work of five major Modernists: Yeats, Pound, Hulme, Ford and Lawrence. These Modernists, Williams argues, started their careers with historical assumptions derived from the nineteenth century. But their views on the universal structure of history, on the abandonment of progress and the adoption of a cyclical sense of the past, were the result of important conflicts and changes within the Modernist period. Williams focuses on the period immediately ...
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Overview

Louise Williams explores the nature of historical memory in the work of five major Modernists: Yeats, Pound, Hulme, Ford and Lawrence. These Modernists, Williams argues, started their careers with historical assumptions derived from the nineteenth century. But their views on the universal structure of history, on the abandonment of progress and the adoption of a cyclical sense of the past, were the result of important conflicts and changes within the Modernist period. Williams focuses on the period immediately before the First World War, and shows in detail how Modernism developed and why it is considered a unique intellectual movement. She also revisits the theory that the Edwardian age was a difficult period of transition to the modern world. Finally, she illuminates the contribution of non-Western culture to the literature and thought of the period. This wide-ranging and inter-disciplinary study is essential reading for literary and cultural historians of the Modernist period.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Williams (British and intellectual history, Central Connecticut State U.) examines the development of the historical theories of the British literary Modernists, as evidenced in the work of Yeats, Pound, Hulme, Ford, and Lawrence. The text is not a work of literary criticism, but rather a "collective intellectual biography" which considers the Modernists as thinkers as well as artists. Williams seeks to demonstrate how and why their thought collectively changed direction, and to reveal a new understanding of this group of literary figures and the time in which they were living. For literary and cultural historians. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"...Williams offers an attractive thesis constructed around masses of primary materials that make for fascinating reading." English Literature in Transition 1880-1920

"Modernisn and the Ideology of History is a valuable contribution to modernist studies and to British literary history." Journal of Midwest Modern Language Association

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521120937
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise Blakeney Williams is Assistant Professor of British and Intellectual History at Central Connecticut State University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 "Immaterial pleasure houses": the initial aesthetic dilemma 21
2 "A more dream-heavy hour": medievalist and progressive beginnings 39
3 "Pedantry and hysteria": contemporary political problems 55
4 "A certain discipline": radical conservative solutions 74
5 "A particularly lively wheel": cyclic views emerge 91
6 "Our own image": the example of Asian and non-Western cultures 114
7 In "the grip of the ... vortex": the proof of Post-Impressionist art 138
8 The "cycle dance": cyclic history arrives 160
9 "The Nightmare" and beyond: the First World War and mature cyclic theories 184
Conclusion 206
Notes 213
Index 258
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