New PDF release: Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and

By John Carlos Rowe

ISBN-10: 1584659955

ISBN-13: 9781584659952

In occasions of liberal melancholy it is helping to have anyone like John Carlos Rowe positioned issues into viewpoint, for that reason, with a set of essays that asks the query, “Must we throw out liberalism’s successes with the neoliberal bathwater?” Rowe first lays out a family tree of early twentieth-century modernists, reminiscent of Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, with an eye fixed towards stressing their transnationally engaged liberalism and their efforts to introduce into the literary avant-garde the worries of politically marginalized teams, no matter if outlined via race, type, or gender. the second one a part of the quantity comprises essays at the works of Harper Lee, Thomas Berger, Louise Erdrich, and Philip Roth, emphasizing the continuity of efforts to symbolize family political and social issues. whereas serious of the more and more conservative tone of the neoliberalism of the earlier quarter-century, Rowe rescues the worth of liberalism’s sympathetic and socially engaged rationale, at the same time he criticizes glossy liberalism’s lack of ability to paintings transnationally.

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Extra resources for Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique

Sample text

Yet the significance of the name Melanctha offers one part of the solution to the intellectual puzzle concerning Stein’s literary representation of race, ethnicity, and sexual identity in Three Lives. Was Stein adopting the persona of her African-American protagonist, Melanctha Herbert, for purely aesthetic purposes, thus implicating her version of modernism in other forms of popular blackface minstrelsy? Was Stein exposing the social construction of racial and ethnic identities, perhaps of all identities, and thereby deconstructing avant le lettre “race” and “ethnicity” as essential categories?

Much of the appeal of Lee’s novel stems from its Southern regionalism, with the town of Maycomb, Alabama, exhibiting the charm of a vanishing Southern ruralism while hiding the ugly history of the displaced Creek people, slavery, and racism. Yet Maycomb is a small town undergoing inevitable changes as a consequence of second-stage modernization, and it cannot avoid contact with transnational forces beyond its region. Aunt Alexandra’s missionary group cares for the poor “Mrunas” of Africa, even as white middle-class residents continue to exploit African-­American locals.

29 Of course, Du Bois gives “double consciousness” an appropriately double meaning, suggesting that cultural schizophrenia can also be understood as special knowledge: “The Negro is . . 31 These preliminary interpretations of Three Lives and its place in Stein’s developing avant-garde poetics in the first decades of the twentieth century are necessary to contextualize the onomastic significance of Melanctha’s name. It is a scholarly commonplace to note that Melanctha’s given name combines the Greek roots for black, melas and melanos, with the Greek root for earth (as in “ground”), chthon.

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Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique by John Carlos Rowe


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