The Modernist Novel: A Critical Introduction

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Leading scholar Stephen Kern offers a probing analysis of the modernist novel, encompassing American, British and European works. Organized thematically, the book offers a comprehensive analysis of the stunningly original formal innovations in novels by Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Proust, Gide, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Kafka, Musil and others. Kern contextualizes and explains how formal innovations captured the dynamic history of the period, reconstructed as ten master narratives. He also draws briefly on poetry and painting of the first half of the twentieth century. The Modernist Novel is set to become a fundamental source for discussions of the genre and a useful introduction to the subject for students and scholars of modernism and twentieth-century literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kern’s account offers a refreshing stance towards modernist fiction. Indeed, his historicizing of the modernists’ formal innovations is both informative and persuasive throughout. In addition, by offering not only an extensive survey of formal techniques used in the modernist novel, but also an explication of how they departed from the realist novelists, Kern is able to underscore the modernists’ pioneering use of literary form in both a clear and coherent fashion."
-Notes and Queries
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107400429
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/23/2011
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Kern taught at Northern Illinois University, completing his time there as a Distinguished Research Professor, before moving to Ohio State University in 2002. He was appointed a Humanities Distinguished Professor at Ohio State in 2004. He has been awarded ACLS, NEH, Rockefeller and Guggenheim Fellowships and received the Ohio Academy of History Distinguished Historian Award for 2007. His major publications are The Culture of Time and Space: 1880–1918 (1983, 2003), The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns (1992) and A Cultural History of Causality: Science, Murder Novels, and Systems of Thought (2004). His area of specialization is modern European cultural and intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His current research project is on modernism and religion.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Character: presence, substance, structure, stability, stature, purpose; 2. Event: scale, causality, plot; 3. Space: texture, mental space, urban space; 4. Time: orientation, pace, continuity, order; 5. Framework: beginning, ending; 6. Text: mechanics, language, style; 7. Narrator: vision, voice, knowledge; Conclusion.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    Superb -- buy your copy today!

    For those of us decently educated "men (and women) in the street" who still harbor an interest in brain-bending modern literature, Prof. Kern has performed a significant service in writing The Modernist Novel. I bought this book on a whim and was very pleasantly surprised by both its content and its style. Through a series of chapters that deal systematically with such topics as character, event, text, and narration, Kern interprets the main novels of challenging authors like Conrad, Woolf, Proust, Kafka, Faulkner, and others (the author has a particular fondness for Joyce's Ulysses). For this reader, Kern's real feat has been to supply in a mere 250 pages a wealth of scholarly analysis clearly communicated in a jargon-free, lucid prose that is a pleasure to read. A splendid achievement!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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