XIV Modern Literature

J. COWLEY, D. LEA, P. POPLAWSKI, L. HAPGOOD, R. STORER, E. NEILL, M. PAGE, A. ENTWISTLE, J. BRANNIGAN
2001 Year's Work in English Studies  
Fiction will be covered in the next volume). Section 1 is by Julian Cowley; sections 2(a)-(c) are by Daniel Lea; section 2(d) is by Paul Poplawski; section 2(e) is by Lynne Hapgood; section 2(f) is by Richard Storer; section 2(g) is by Edward Neill; section 3 is by Malcolm Page; section 4 is by Alice Entwhistle; section 5 is by John Brannigan. John Whittier-Ferguson's Framing Pieces is subtitled 'Designs of the Gloss in Joyce, Woolf, and Pound'. He examines those authors' various commentaries
more » ... their own lives and work, as they appear in footnotes, marginalia, primers, and expository essays. A paradigm, addressed briefly, is Eliot's production of framing pieces for The Waste Land. Whittier-Ferguson avoids a general theory of the gloss, preferring to attend to specific effects, but he does draw out the political significance of gestures made within particular framing apparatuses. The opening chapter looks at Joyce's promotion of contexts for reading Work in Progress, notably through his input into Herbert Gorman's biography, and at the intervention made by Eugene Jolas, editor of transition. The 'Lessons' chapter of Finnegans Wake (II.2) is scrutinized closely as 'Joyce's most flamboyant, entirely overt display of apparatus', and the role of Our Exagmination is delineated. Turning to Woolf, Whittier-Ferguson investigates notes and explanations appended to A Room of One's Own, The Pargiters, and Three Guineas, showing her remapping the traditional borders of novel and essay. He takes these to be, in crucial ways, representative of Woolf's 'embroidered, many-stranded texts'. The final chapter looks at the means, including his notorious radio broadcasts, by which Pound sought to bring into existence an educated readership, prepared to receive his poetry. For Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern, Michael North undertook an ambitious hermeneutic experiment, immersing himself in other writings that appeared during the year which saw publication of Ulysses and The Waste Land. He read voraciously to acquire 'a more comprehensive understanding of how the masterworks of literary modernism fit into the discursive framework of their time'. This extends to advertisements for sound-recording equipment, news reports of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and its offshoots in fashion, the popular vogue for psychoanalysis, and commemoration in the Times Literary Supplement of the centenary of Grimm's Law. North records that the Daily Mail registered 1922 as the first real post-war year, while Phillip Gibbs, in his bestseller The Middle of the Road, noted 'a new restlessness in the soul of humanity'. In 1922 fieldwork decisively supplanted older methodologies, inaugurating modern anthropology. It was the year of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, I.A. Richards's and C.K. Ogden's The Foundations of Aesthetics, and John Cournos's novel Babel; of Walter Lippman's Popular Opinion, Claude McKay's Harlem Shadows, and James Weldon Johnson's Book of American Negro Poetry; of Robert Flaherty's film Nanook of the North, the extensively covered 'Grand Oriental Tour' of the Prince of Wales, and Charlie Chaplin's travelogue, My Trip Abroad. In prefatory comments, North posits himself as an ideal reader; in the event, he is necessarily a partial reader, constrained by practicalities and predilections. He delves into now obscure corners as well as attending to the subsequently celebrated, making illuminating links across disciplinary boundaries and disclosing fertile ground for further research. The nature of the vantage-point from which modernity has recognized irreducible diversity and universal relativity is the book's underlying conceptual concern. At the start of the twentieth century Henri Bergson was held by some to be the greatest living thinker. His fall from prominence, John Mullarkey suggests, resulted in part from incorporation of his ideas into the more amenable perspectives of phenomenology, existentialism, and structuralism. Mullarkey has edited The New Bergson to reflect a recent increase of interest in Bergson's philosophy. He includes 608 MODERN LITERATURE the essay 'Bergson's Conception of Difference' by Gilles Deleuze, whose 'contemporary implementation of Bergson's thought is partly responsible for this resurgence'. Richard A. Cohen argues that Bergson initiated a new 'epoch of ecology' in which integral harmony is established between reason and revelation. P.A.Y. Gunter discloses the 'green' Bergson, placing aspects of his thought in relation to environmentalist concerns. Garrett Barden, in a discussion of method in philosophy, considers the distinction between measurement of duration and duration itself. Timothy S. Murphy shows how Bergson's critique of Einstein's view of time foreshadows David Bohm's and Basil Hiley's 'ontological' interpretation of quantum mechanics. Three essays focus on Matter and Memory [1896], 'the bedrock of Bergsonism', elucidating the philosopher's reconciliation of materialism and idealism, his concept of person, and his final position on the mind-body problem. F.C.T. Moore examines Bergson's observations on magic. Keith Ansell Pearson affirms the continuing validity of the notion of 'creative evolution', when rescued from simplification. Two essays address 'art': Mark Antliff locates the paintings of Henri Matisse within a Bergsonian frame; in the course of reviewing Bergson's attitude towards cinema; Paul Douglass alludes to Virginia Woolf's 1926 essay, 'The Movies and Reality'. Amie L. Thomasson's Fiction and Metaphysics, offers a measured investigation of the ontology of fictional characters, and argues for their status as 'abstract artifacts' which are 'tethered to the everyday world around us by dependencies on books, readers, and authors'. This emphasis on connectedness to entities in the ordinary world distinguishes her approach from Meinongian theory, which 'sees fictional characters as part of a separate realm of abstract or nonexistent objects'. As she explicates her 'artefactual theory', Thomasson tackles fundamental questions concerning conditions for the existence of figures such as Sherlock Holmes, Clarissa Dalloway, Gregor Samsa, and Gudrun Brangwen. They are, she asserts, 'not possible people but actual characters'. Her case is made with the broader intention of initiating 'a better analysis of cultural entities and abstract artifacts generally', an ontology for a varied world, free from false parsimony. 'Without an ethics, can the scholar be sure of the point to his or her work?' The question is posed by Andrew Gibson in Postmodernity, Ethics and the Novel. The book is subtitled 'From Leavis to Levinas', and although Gibson is swift to detach himself from Leavisite tenets he acknowledges a point of contact in his grounding assumption, that 'in their own particular manner, novels perform an ethical work, or can be made to, and it is worth trying to enable that work to take place'. Surveying critical and academic discourse, Gibson is concerned to assess the effectiveness of 'the politics of English' in light of a 'depressingly, stubbornly conservative culture'. He argues the case for a close relationship between theory and ethical criticism, engaging discriminately with the 'many-sided, non-foundational ethics' found in the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, and deploying insights derived from Jean-François Lyotard's reading of the avant-garde. The emergence of ethics through narrative technique, and through destabilization of narrational and representational categories is demonstrated through reference to works by
doi:10.1093/ywes/mae014 fatcat:yytryiodirdu3bpmj3a5uyf47y