Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern

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In this book, Michael North makes an ambitious journey back to 1922, examining the world in which Ulysses and The Waste Land - two texts synonymous with literary modernism - were first published. By reconstructing the larger culture into which these works were introduced, this study attempts to give a new start to critical controversies about aesthetic modernism and modern culture.. "Returning to the world of 1922, North discovers many connections between people, movements, disciplines, and artistic works that are usually considered to be distinct from one another. In disclosing these connections, this book provides evidence to dispute common generalizations about the separation of modern literature from the social and cultural world around it. Paying attention to literary masterpieces as well as lesser-known texts, North considers the work of Howard Carter, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bronislaw Malinowski, Virginia Woolf, Anzia Yezierska, D. H. Lawrence, Sherwood Anderson, E. E. Cummings, Charlie Chaplin, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and a host of other writers, both famous and forgotten.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Excellent.... Rightly challenges the common critical assertion, most influentially argued by Andreas Huyssen, that there is a deep antipathy between modernism and mass culture.... A nuanced description of 1922 that deepens our understanding of the reception of modernism as a wider cultural movement expressed both in great works of literature and in a diverse set of contemporaneous cultural works."—Christianity and Literature

"Reading 1922 is without a doubt the best book on Modernism to come along in a long time."—Jesse Matz, Comparative Literature Studies

"Well documented, nicely illustrated, and written in up-to-the-minute clinical language, this book is a smooth sail, recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above."—Choice

"Enlightening.... Making innovative use of material from such (apparently) diverse sources as anthropology, linguistics, travel literature and cinema, North's brisk but densely researched book moves engagingly around its central thesis: that later critics have slanted the reception history of modernism to fit into their own ideas of what it represented."—Times Literary Supplement

"It is nevertheless surprising... just how much ground [North] is able to cover (and cover well) in under three hundred pages. The book opens with an excellent analysis of the significance of translation.... We could do worse than staving off the sleep of reason by immersing ourselves in Michael North's excellent—because critical—translation of the twentieth century."—Literary Research

"Free of cant, brimming with insight, this is one fine book."—Modern Philology

"North is inventive when developing the multiple junctures, as he put it, of the 'strategies of marketing' which helped sustain and expand the reading public's awareness of modernists like Eliot, Pound, and Joyce.... North is exuberant to read.... Bravo. Indeed."— ames Joyce Literary Supplement

"For the light it sheds on the culture of modernism and obliquely onto literary modernism itself, Reading 1922 proves itself an excellent contribution to critical work on modernism, on the whole."—Theory and Cultural Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195127201
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor of English at UCLA, Michael North is the author of four books, including The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth-Century Literature (OUP 1994). He has written and lectured widely on many aspects of modern culture, including literature, politics, and the arts.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Ch. 1 Translation, Mistranslation, and the Tractatus 31
Ch. 2 The Public Unconscious 65
Ch. 3 Tourists in the Age of the World Picture 107
Ch. 4 Across the Great Divide 140
Ch. 5 All Nice Wives Are Like That 173
Conclusion 205
Notes 215
Index 261
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