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.
Hubert I. Cohen
Review of András Bálint Kovács, SCREENING MODERNISM: EUROPEAN ART CINEMA, 1950–1980
A Naturalized Aesthetics and the Challenge of Modernism
Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger with the Soviet montage films of Sergei Eisenstein and Alexander Dovzhenko and the modernism of Robert Bresson, Luis Buñuel, and Raúl Ruiz, and this “comparative approach” ( Smith 2017: 9 ) has continued in his
Toward a Contemplative Ethnography
Don Seeman and Michael Karlin
Amid growing interest in mindfulness studies focusing on Buddhist and Buddhism-derived practices, this article argues for a comparative and ethnographic approach to analogous practices in different religious traditions and to their vernacular significance in the everyday lives of practitioners. The Jewish contemplative tradition identified with Chabad Hasidism is worth consideration in this context because of its long-standing indigenous tradition of contemplative practice, the recent adoption of ‘mindfulness’ practices or terminology by some Hasidim, and its many intersections with so-called Buddhist modernism. These intersections include the personal trajectories of individuals who have engaged in both Buddhist and Hasidism-derived mindfulness practices, the shared invocation and adaptation of contemporary psychology, and the promotion of secularized forms of contemplative practice. We argue that ‘Hasidic modernism’ is a better frame than ‘neo-Hasidism’ for comparative purposes, and that Hasidic modernism complicates the taxonomies of secularity in comparable but distinctive ways to those that arise in Buddhist-modernism contexts.
'New Seeing' in the Works of Lorenzo Mattotti and Nicolas de Crécy
Both in literature and art, exponents of modernism sought new forms of expression that took into account changes in the social, economic, technical and political conditions of the time. A similar trend towards questioning outmoded forms of representation and establishing new ways of seeing has become apparent in European comics since the 1980s, a development that was initiated primarily in Italy and France. In Murmure (1989), Lorenzo Mattotti invokes expressionism and centres his mystical tale on the individual's inner being. In rejecting the representational norms traditionally applied to comics, Nicolas de Crécy also shows his allegiance to modernism yet reflects in his absurdly hyperrealist work, Foligatto (1991), the grotesque images of Otto Dix. The following article demonstrates how the two artists, despite the deliberate reversion to early twentieth-century art common to both, have, each in his own way, established a new approach to seeing in comics.
Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four
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.
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
On the Wider Import of a Distinction Debora Silverman Develops in Van Gogh and Gaugin
This essay seeks to extend Debora Silverman's distinction between van Gogh's project of "spiritualizing the material" and Gauguin's related but opposed one of "dematerializing the world" to a wider range of modernist and avant-garde projects. It employs this distinction in connection with Astradur Eysteinsson's analysis of the problems of using such terms as modernism, the avant-garde, and postmodernism in relation to realism and the various revolts against it that have taken place since the age of romanticism. Eysteins-son's general approach is followed, but also in part questioned and given a different direction through discussions of Duchamp, the surrealists, Baudelaire, and Rimbaud.
An Epilogue to Van Gogh and Gauguin: the Search for Sacred Art
Kenneth E. Silver
Silverman's intent is to emphasize the "critical role of religion in the development of modernism." As an addendum to that pursuit, it should be pointed out that, well into the twentieth century, religion remained crucial to artistic innovation and development (and still is). We now recognize how important apocalyptic imagery was to Wasily Kandinsky's abstraction. In the wake of the Second World War, and French occupation by the Germans, religion made a powerful reappearance in the art of the avant-garde. Henri Matisse's Chapel of the Rosary at Vence is one of the great works of this period; it is worth briefly examining the ways in which Matisse understood the intersection between modern art and his reengagement with Catholicism.
The present article seeks to analyse the place of Shakespeare’s work within the oeuvre of Gabriel Josipovici, starting with the latter’s first published critical book, The World and the Book, and ending with his most recent, Hamlet: Fold on Fold. In the early work Josipovici sought to establish a direct line between the Middle Ages and Modernism, yet Shakespeare was already a presence whose plays obliged that line to deviate. In his later critical work, such as On Trust, Shakespeare becomes one of the figures who allows Josipovici to exemplify clearly the crucial gap he wishes to explore between saying and doing. This gap is most fully explored in the recent book on Hamlet, where the protagonist is seen as the supreme literary example of what happens when the traditions governing doing have fallen away, leaving the character adrift in a sea of possibilities of utterance and action, none of which has the feel of necessity.