Joshua L. Miller, ed, "The Cambridge Companion to the American Modernist Novel"

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

Abstract

This new collection of essays on the American modernist novel traces both the parameters by which American modernism and the novel form were originally understood, and the ways in which those parameters have been tested, expanded and re-written in line with broader shifts in the humanities. All of the essays situate American modernism in a global context, reading its many different strands as implicitly imbricated with other cultures and languages, and as contesting the nationalist, hierarchical, gendered and segregated categories upheld by US society in the first half of the twentieth century. From a brief history of the major events that constituted the beginnings of American modernity and shaped the literary landscape between 1890 and 1940—the World’s Columbian Exhibition of 1890; the New York Armory Show in 1913; the invention of the Ford “Five Dollar Day” in 1914; the first transcontinental phone call, the US entry into World War I in 1917, and others—the book quickly moves on to address the influence of U.S. economic policy overseas, immigration quotas, and the traumatic history of slavery. Particular attention is paid to the evolution of scholarly discussions of modernism, including the role that—for example—the New Critical and Cold War frameworks played in initially excluding particular writers from study, and the role of postcolonial studies, African American studies, feminist theory, and queer theory in recognizing their importance. The collection’s three sections—“Movements” (the modernist novel, geospatial movement and national identity); “Methodologies” (analytical approaches to modernism); and “Textualities” (the modernist novel’s relationship to visual culture, translation, music, and new media)—reflect this polyvalent approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of American Studies
Volume11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

Keywords

  • modernism
  • American literature
  • American studies
  • twentieth century
  • world literature

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