A Concise Companion to Modernism (Concise Companions to by David Bradshaw

By David Bradshaw

This concise spouse bargains an leading edge method of knowing the Modernist literary brain in Britain, targeting the highbrow and cultural contexts, which formed it. deals an leading edge method of realizing the Modernist literary brain in Britain. is helping readers to understand the highbrow and cultural contexts of literary Modernism. Organised round modern principles equivalent to Freudianism and eugenics instead of literary genres. Relates literary Modernism to the overarching problems with the interval, equivalent to feminism, imperialism and conflict.

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In fiction, the humanitarian New Woman writer Mona Caird interrogated the hereditarian position, exposing the bias of biology and reclaiming the importance of environment and culture in shaping individuals (see Richardson 2001, 2002). She pursued the same line of argument as Huxley, arguing that nature was at best “primitive impulse and law, unmodified by human intelligence or moral development” (1894: 231). Human civilization and nature were at odds. The “primitive” mind was set against its transformed version in the social self.

Angus McLaren has charted the demise in the perceived relevance of female sexual pleasure in the act of procreation. In Making Sex Thomas Laqueur charts the same developments in the shift toward the biologizing of femininity, and Ornella Moscucci records an increasing emphasis on the function of the ovaries (a function discovered in 1826) as the search for the cause and proof of woman’s otherness intensified (1990: 33). In the eighteenth century the most popular work on sexuality was Aristotle’s Masterpiece, an anonymously authored compendium of information derived from Nicholas Culpeper, Albertus Magnus, and common folklore.

There was no way back; but through a new, improved, and sexually responsible Eve, there might be a way forward, a way of regaining paradise lost. Reversing the androcentric bias of Darwin’s account of human sexual selection, which assigned to men the power of selection, socialpurity feminists argued that women would make sexual choices that would improve the health of the nation. Eugenics, the “natural” solution to the “population question,” was figured as kind and feminine. In the Eugenics Review, founded by the Eugenics Education Society in 1909, Mrs.

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