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Title: Revenant modernisms and the recurrence of Literary History
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2017
Keywords: Modernism
Contemporary Literature
Postcolonial Literature
Irish Studies
British Literature
James Joyce
String Theory
Abstract: This essay suggests that literary production post-postmodernism has not progressed to something new, but rather has returned to quintessentially modernist anxieties and modes of expression--especially renewed faith in grand narratives. The argument draws upon and coalesces two theoretical texts to help identify what I term 'revenant modernism' as a "symbolic space" (Flatley, 2008: 32) where a sort of "secular re-enchantment" (Landy & Saler, 2009: 2) remains possible: Jonathan Flatley's Affective mapping: Melancholia and the politics of modernism (2008) and The re-enchantment of the world: Secular magic in a rational age (2009) by Joshua Landy and Michael Saler. I then examine two recent novels--Will Self's Umbrella (2012) and Eimear McBride's A girl is a half-formed thing (2014)--as evidence of this return. Along the way, I tie both of these novels back to their stated modernist influence (James Joyce's Ulysses [1993]) in order to show how Self and McBride's fiction borrows from Joyce's particular brand of postcolonial modernism.
Primary author: Schultz, Matthew
Document type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Number of pages / Extensions: 1-15
Rights: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
Appears in Collections:Vol.17 (1), 2017

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