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Traveling to Modernism's Other Worlds

Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

Alexandra Peat

This article discusses two popular late modernist works, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. It argues that the formal and thematic complexity of both works has been overlooked because of an understandable, but ultimately rather myopic fixation on their gripping ideas and frightening political messages, and puts them back in the context of modernism, seeing them as part of a body of late modernist works engaged in questions of travel and transnational encounter. The article situates Huxley and Orwell's novels in the socio-cultural context of the 1930s and 1940s, figuring the dystopian impulse as a reaction to a time of global upheaval and uncertainty. By understanding these novels as examples of travel fiction, we become more attuned to the kinds of complex ethical questions they ask regarding how to view both other worlds and other people.

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“The Strange Happiness of Being Abroad”

Dorothy Richardson's Oberland

Mhairi Pooler

Oberland has typically been viewed as an odd interlude in Dorothy Richardson's novel sequence Pilgrimage. Depicting a fortnight spent in the Swiss Alps, it focuses on the experience and influence of travel and new surroundings, celebrating a state of intense wonder—“the strange happiness of being abroad.” This article argues that reading Oberland within the tradition of travel writing rather than the novel improves our understanding of the volume's distinctiveness as well as themes central to the whole of Pilgrimage—in particular those of wonder and “privileged sight,” faculties that, it is suggested, are essential to the artistic temperament. Concerned less with the protagonist's inner life and more with her immediate experience of place, Oberland may be distinct from the rest of Pilgrimage, but not from modernist travel narratives. This article considers the implications of such genre distinctions for Richardson's text and what it means for her protagonist Miriam's development toward artisthood.

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Dead Letters

Gender, Literary History and the Cross-correspondences

Leigh Wilson

In the last decade, literary and cultural historians’ scrutiny of relations with those who have gone before – their own dead and those of their subjects – has taken a ghostly turn. Literary history has become haunted. As Helen Sword comments in the epilogue to her Ghostwriting Modernism, ‘hauntology’ of various kinds has become a ‘crowded bandwagon’. Among critics of literary modernism, in particular, the trope of haunting has been much used to think about the period’s relation with the past, and modernists’ own obsessions with ‘the world unseen’ are increasingly being regarded, not as rather embarrassing marginalia, but as central to their aesthetic, formal and political concerns. Modernist writing could well be defined as that which attempts selfconsciously to redefine its relation with those who have gone before, to rattle the bones of literary history until they are rearranged. The trope of haunting goes further in allowing us to see modernism as both an exorcism of the past, and an uneasy possession by the past.

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Steven Matthews

‘No ideas but in things.’ One impact of this Emersonian clarion-call by William Carlos Williams early in the twentieth century was the demand for a more local version of modernism in poetry, one which resisted the presumed universalising vagaries of more classicallyinformed strivers after the ‘new’ like Eliot and Pound. In the more intimately identifiable context of such ‘ideas’, ‘so much’was notoriously taken to ‘depend’ upon practical and found objects in the everyday world, without an irritable reaching after cultural, historical or mythic correlatives which would serve to describe, in Eliot’s phrase, ‘the mind of Europe’.

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Introduction

A Past of Her Own – History and the Modernist Woman Writer

Mark Llewellyn and Ann Heilmann

The articles collected in this special issue were originally all delivered as papers at the ‘Hystorical Fictions: Women, History and Authorship’ conference we organised at the University of Wales, Swansea, in August 2003. When we began planning the event – writing the call for papers; contacting academics we thought might be interested in attending – we anticipated that, given the recent prominence of ‘historical fiction’ by authors such as A. S. Byatt, Tracy Chevalier, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson and others, a large number of speakers would want to focus on contemporary women writers’ uses of history. What proved most interesting, however, was the way in which this trend of, to use Adrienne Rich’s term, feminist ‘re-visioning’,1 viewed by so many critics and readers as part of a postmodern literary culture, has its roots in the modernism of the early twentieth century.

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The Ill-Equipped Modernist

Historicizing Édouard Dujardin’s Les Lauriers Sont Coupés

Kelly J. Maynard

in its own right, analyzing its interiority as an innovative product of overlapping aesthetic milieus symptomatic of the French fin de siècle, including symbolism, Wagnerism, modernism, and subjectivism. 2 In this article, I explore Les Lauriers

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Leena Kore Schröder

In spite of recent post-modernist challenges to the binary Cartesian spatio-temporal model, the concept of space – how it is produced, and how we situate ourselves within it – still tends to be eclipsed by the more dynamic and fluid concept of time. Space is cumbersomely solid compared with a temporality that has been attractively insubstantial, at least since the onset of modernism: it carries rather old-fashioned suggestions not only of continuity and stability, but also of existing as something apart from and different from the lives and events which find their location in it. For as long as such distinctions are maintained, the interdependent relations which produce and determine our social and cultural spaces remain overlooked. These are false distinctions which distort a fuller understanding of the relations between writer, text and external world, and they are particularly damaging to someone like John Betjeman, whose work has come to be identified with a specifically nostalgic world of Englishness. It is precisely this familiar world that needs to become the location for a revision of Betjeman and the production of English space.

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Return to the Organic

Onions, Artichokes and 'The Debate' on the Nation and Modernity

Laurence Piper

Nationalism and Modernism, by Anthony D. Smith. London & New York: Routledge, 1998. ISBN: 0415063418.

Theories of Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, by Umut Özkrimili. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000. ISBN: 0333777123.

Understanding Nationalism, edited by Montserrat Guibernau and John Hutchinson. Cambridge: Polity. ISBN: 0745624022.

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C.W.R.D. Moseley

in common with modernism, indeed with our own uncertainties, than with the confidence of the nineteenth century when so much spadework was done in recovering and re-examining many of the materials we value. The medievals shared our itchy unease about

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‘Off Path, Counter Path’

Contemporary Walking Collaborations in Landscape, Art and Poetry

Harriet Tarlo and Judith Tucker

which more later. Figure 3 Tetney Blow Wells , open-form poem by Harriet Tarlo and oil on canvas by Judith Tucker, 61 × 183 cm. Romantic-Modern Origins Nonetheless, Romanticism and modernism form the crucible that shapes us in a process of shifting