What Ever Happened to Modernism? by Gabriel Josipovici

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Synopsis

The quality of today’s literary writing arouses the strongest opinions. For novelist and critic Gabriel Josipovici, the contemporary novel in English is profoundly disappointing—a poor relation of its groundbreaking Modernist forebears. This agile and passionate book asks why.

Modernism, Josipovici suggests, is only superficially a reaction to industrialization or a revolution in diction and form; essentially, it is art coming to consciousness of its own limits and responsibilities. And its origins are to be sought not in 1850 or 1800, but in the early 1500s, with the crisis of society and perception that also led to the rise of Protestantism. With sophistication and persuasiveness, Josipovici charts some of Modernism’s key stages, from Dürer, Rabelais, and Cervantes to the present, bringing together a rich array of artists, musicians, and writers both familiar and unexpected—including Beckett, Borges, Friedrich, Cézanne, Stevens, Robbe-Grillet, Beethoven, and Wordsworth. He concludes with a stinging attack on the current literary scene in Britain and America, which raises questions about not only national taste, but contemporary culture itself.

Gabriel Josipovici has spent a lifetime writing, and writing about other writers. What Ever Happened to Modernism? is a strident call to arms, and a tour de force of literary, artistic, and philosophical explication that will stimulate anyone interested in art in the twentieth century and today.
 

About Gabriel Josipovici

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Gabriel Josipovici is a prolific and eminent novelist, literary theorist, critic, and scholar. He is currently research professor at the University of Sussex, where he taught in the School of European Studies for thirty-five years.
 
Published September 28, 2010 by Yale University Press. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for What Ever Happened to Modernism?

New York Journal of Books

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He directs us not only to Woolf but also to Wordsworth, who conjured up the powers of the Romantic Poet to energize his paradoxical calling “in an age when art itself is in question.” Two centuries later, Josipovici convinces his reader of James, Eliot, and other contenders against the complacent...

Oct 28 2010 | Read Full Review of What Ever Happened to Modernism?

The Wall Street Journal

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Modernism is the anguished response—for Mr. Josipovici, the only valid response—to this irreparable fracture of the world and the self.

Sep 25 2010 | Read Full Review of What Ever Happened to Modernism?

The Wall Street Journal

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Kafka knew that 'to be modern is to know that some things can no longer be done.'

Sep 25 2010 | Read Full Review of What Ever Happened to Modernism?

The Telegraph

Novels are told backwards, .

Aug 05 2010 | Read Full Review of What Ever Happened to Modernism?

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonSun, 09/26/2010 - 22:00.

Sep 26 2010 | Read Full Review of What Ever Happened to Modernism?

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