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In a Strange Room: Modernism's Corpses and Mortal Obligation

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Taking its title from Faulkner's epochal modernist novel, David Sherman's study traces the myriad ways death and its eff... Weiterlesen
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Beschreibung

Taking its title from Faulkner's epochal modernist novel, David Sherman's study traces the myriad ways death and its effect on the living defined modernist fiction and verse in England, Ireland, and the U.S. A focus on the disturbing but recurring image of the corpse allows Sherman to consider a range of texts marked by their sense of mortal fragility. Wilfred Owen's war poetry and Virginia Woolf's early novel Jacob's Room illustrate an incipient anxiety over new governmental techniques for efficiently managing the burial of the dead during World War I. Joyce's Ulysses and As I Lay Dying offer opportunities to consider narratives organized by the problem of an unburied corpse. Eliot's The Waste Land and Djuna Barnes's novel Nightwood, which Eliot edited, demonstrate how modernist writers often respond to death and the loss of corporality with erotic encounters at the moment mortality is most threatened. Two poems by William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens, in the monograph's concluding section, provide emblems for competing attitudes toward the disposal of the dead in the first half of the twentieth century. Enriched by insights from psychology, anthropology, and philosophy, In a Strange Room presents a richly textured transatlantic study of a defining aspect of modernist literature and culture.

Autorentext

David Sherman is Assistant Professor of English at Brandeis University.



Klappentext

Literary modernism emerged as death, stripped in the developing world of traditional meanings and practices, became strange. The sea-change over the first part of the twentieth century in how people died and tended corpses-the modernization of death-was a crucial context in which modernist writers developed their new novelistic and poetic techniques. They sought ways to renovate mortal obligations in an age of the obsolescence of the dead. For many years, the flesh-and-blood body has been a central protagonist in literary scholarship--the body in pain, the body as spectacle and performance, embodiments of social identity--but the body in its mortality, as corpse, has not received sustained critical attention. Filling this gap, In a Strange Room investigates modernism's preoccupation with corpses, death rituals, and the ethical demands the dead make on the living who survive them. Informed by insights from psychology, anthropology, political theory, and philosophy, David Sherman shows how modernist aesthetics sought to re-animate the complex meanings and values of dead bodies during an era of their efficient, medical administration and hygienic disposal. The modernist imagination reckoned with the processes by which the modern corpse became a secularized object increasingly subject to scientific inquiry, governmental regulation, specialized medical technologies, and new forms of market exchange. Chapters explore representations of state power over the war dead in Virginia Woolf and Wilfred Owen, the narrative problem of the unburied corpse in As I Lay Dying and Ulysses, mortal obligation as erotic desire in Eliot's The Waste Land and Djuna Barnes's Nightwood, and mortuary pedagogies embedded in elegies by Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. Gathering examples from fiction, poetry, and the visual arts, In a Strange Room considers the changing relationship between aesthetics and mortality during the first half of the twentieth century. New attitudes toward dying and dead bodies demanded modernism's strange, bracing ways of representing ethics at the limits of life.



Inhalt

Contents Series Editors' Foreword Acknowledgements List of Abbreviations Introduction: Towards the Modernist Corpse 1. The State's Unending Vigil: Owen's and Woolf's Unknown Warrior 2. Joyce, Faulkner, and the Modernist Burial Plot 3. The Erotics of Mortal Obligation in Eliot and Barnes Coda: Williams and Stevens, Inventing Farewell Bibliography Index

Produktinformationen

Titel: In a Strange Room: Modernism's Corpses and Mortal Obligation
Untertitel: Modernism's Corpses and Mortal Obligation
Autor:
EAN: 9780199333899
ISBN: 978-0-19-933389-9
Digitaler Kopierschutz: Adobe-DRM
Format: E-Book (pdf)
Herausgeber: Oxford University Press
Genre: Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Anzahl Seiten: 288
Veröffentlichung: 10.03.2014
Jahr: 2014
Untertitel: Englisch