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

By John Carlos Rowe

In instances of liberal melancholy it is helping to have anyone like John Carlos Rowe placed issues into standpoint, as a consequence, 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, resembling 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, even if outlined through race, category, or gender. the second one a part of the amount contains 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 severe of the more and more conservative tone of the neoliberalism of the earlier quarter-century, Rowe rescues the price of liberalism’s sympathetic and socially engaged purpose, whilst he criticizes smooth liberalism’s lack of ability to paintings transnationally.

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Dupee first published this book in 1951, one year after Trilling’s Liberal Imagination.  See Wendy Graham, Henry James’s Thwarted Love (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1999), pp. 177–206.  On “aesthetic dissent” and “Emersonianism,” see John Carlos Rowe, At Emer­ son’s Tomb: The Politics of Classic American Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), pp. 1–3.  Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987).  Michael North, The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and TwentiethCentury Literature (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994); Ann Douglas, Terri­ ble Honesty: Mongrel Manhattan in the 1920s (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996).

The latter novels mount withering indictments against the 1960s’ counter culture and ethnic “political correctness,” thus situating Roth in a liberal middle that turns out to be far more conservative than he thinks. Roth’s productivity and popularity in this period are symptomatic of why liberal culture should not be dismissed; its appeal to a wide reading audience, even in an age when traditional literary forms are slowly dying, is greater than ever before. The problem of challenging the “American lit- Introduction [ 21 ] erary canon”—the “canon debate” was a skirmish in the Culture Wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s—is today far more difficult than scholars once imagined.

Writer, just beginning her career and living as an expatriate in Paris. S. friends in Europe. She chose carefully her foreign place of residence, preferring the cultivated society and language of the French, even though she would write primarily in her own version of English. Certainly she was somewhat of a radical in her public declaration of her lesbian sexual identity, but she was hardly a political radical and by no means even a fellow traveler with international Communists. Living comfortably with her brother, Leo, on an allowance from the family trust, managed ably by their brother, Michael, Stein could buy paintings, indulge her interests in haute cuisine, and otherwise appreciate the “civilized” pleasures of pre–World War I Paris.

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Categories: Modernism