Interpreting Modernist Writers: Macro History, Personal History, and Manuscript History

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This work presents specimens of three specialized kinds of history of Modernism, offering an alternative to assumptions about the relations of individual writers to their art and contesting general assertions usually made in the literary historiography.


“We find in these essays a breadth and depth of knowledge not only of modernist literature but also of the historical and cultural backgrounds which made Modernism possible and which explain its relevance even for a presumably post-Modernist time. . . . What Sultan has constructed in these three different approaches to literary history--the three histories of his title--is nothing less than the framework for a critical history of what may be the single greatest era for literature since the time of Shakespeare.” - Dr. Morton P. Levitt, Professor of English, Temple University

“This book needed to be written: it pertinently questions accepted assumptions among scholar-critics and teachers of literature about the politics and attitude of modernist writers; it counters established opinions about the ways several canonical modernists: Bishop, Lawrence, and Joyce, for example—transformed their life experience into art; and shows how usual claims about the emergence of major modernist works can prove to be inadequate. With remarkable range, detail and authority, and no little grace, Stanley Sultan thus reopens foreclosed critical notions, and does so fairly and cogently.” – Prof. Paul Schwaber, Wesleyan University for the James Joyce Literary Supplement

Table of Contents

Preface by Morton P. Levitt
Part One: Politics and Tradition
1 Was Modernism Reactionary?
2 Modernist Classicism
Part Two: Life and Art
3 Memory Into Poetry
4 Lawrence the Anti-Autobiographer
5 Esoteric Autobiography in Ulysses
Part Three: Achieving a Modernist Method
6 Evolving The Playboy of the Western World
7 Evolving The Waste Land
Works Cited

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