Written against the backdrop of Brexit, this short article examines the long history of British disregard for modernist and experimental avant-garde aesthetics, one frequently commented upon by critics and artists over the past century. In What Ever Happened to Modernism? Josipovici added his voice to this chorus, but his focus on British insularity went unremarked by reviewers. In addition to considering this more recent text, the article lingers over Josipovici's ‘English Studies and European Culture’, an essay written in the 1970s that presciently explores the symbiotic and primary relationship between England and the continent.
Sara Crangle is Professor of Modernism and the Avant-Garde at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Prosaic Desires: Modernist Knowledge, Boredom, Laughter, and Anticipation (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), and her edited books include Stories and Essays of Mina Loy (Dalkey Archive, 2011); On Bathos: Literature, Art, Music, with Peter Nicholls (2nd ed., Continuum, 2012); and Anna Mendelssohn: Collected Poems (forthcoming). She is currently completing a monograph on Mina Loy's satire and editing the prose of Anna Mendelssohn, whose archive she brought to Sussex in 2010. Born in Canada to émigrés of British and Irish descent, she holds Canadian and Irish citizenship.