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By Jane Goldman

Modernism, 1910-1945 explores and celebrates the increase and improvement of modernist and avant-garde literatures and theories of this actual interval, from Imagism to the Apocalypse circulate. Jane Goldman charts transitions in writing, analyzing, appearing and publishing practices, and in foreign groupings and regroupings of writers and artists, and engages with, in addition to unsettles, the retrospective and homogenizing time period Modernism that labels the period. Goldman introduces scholars to the paintings of many canonical excessive modernist writers, corresponding to Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf, in addition to to the paintings of different vital modernist figures, resembling Nathanael West, Kurt Schwitters and the Harlem Renaissance poets.

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Here European avant-garde interests in narrative and temporal experimentation and in interartistic exchange meet with the American strip cartoon and American urban violence. Contact magazine, in its new manifestation, was to “attempt to cut a trail through the American jungle without the use of a European compass” (146). This suggests a reorienting of international avantgarde aesthetics toward the development of a new local, in this case American, aesthetic. If the new European lyric novel is represented by Joyce’s Ulysses, in which epic is recast to account for one day in Dublin as observed from a number of other European locations and over several years (as the novel’s closing words tell us: “Trieste– Zurich–Paris, / 1914–1921”), then the modern American novelist must “Forget the epic”, according to West: “Lyric novels can be written according to Poe’s definition of a lyric poem.

Never from calm compliance. Art placed in the service of consoling man becomes a curse unto his very deathbed. True art reaches its fulfilment only through the hopeless. (Szasz: 158) Denial, of course, may have many different inflections, incur many different responses, depending upon context. George Grosz, a Berlin Dadaist, is marked in Nazi SS files of 1939 as “one of the most evil representatives of degenerate art who worked in a manner which was hostile to Germany” (quoted Beth Irwin Lewis: 231); but after he had fled to the very different political context of New York in 1932, he dropped his revolutionary style of satirical caricature.

The reading mode implied by “Image to Aapocalypse” suggests a non-linear, revelatory response to image, where a kind of instantaneous, epiphanic reading occurs in an intense moment of lyric aestheticism or subjective introspection. This approach owes something to the theories of Henri Bergson. His concept of the durée, as subjective, psychological, non-spatial, time, and the only site of true freedom, suggests such aesthetic moments constitute an escape from the real, material world. But Bergson’s durée denies “genuine historical experience”, according to Walter Benjamin (Charles Baudelaire, pp.

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