Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation by Rebecca Walkowitz

By Rebecca Walkowitz

During this broad-ranging and bold intervention within the debates over the politics, ethics, and aesthetics of cosmopolitanism, Rebecca L. Walkowitz argues that modernist literary kind has been an important to new methods of pondering and appearing past the kingdom. whereas she specializes in modernist narrative, Walkowitz means that sort conceived expansively as angle, stance, posture, and recognition is helping to provide an explanation for many different, nonliterary formations of cosmopolitanism in heritage, anthropology, sociology, transcultural reviews, and media studies.Walkowitz indicates that James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and W. G. Sebald use the salient positive factors of literary modernism of their novels to discover various models of transnational notion, query ethical and political norms, and renovate the meanings of nationwide tradition and overseas attachment. via deploying literary strategies of naturalness, triviality, evasion, mix-up, treason, and vertigo, those six authors advertise rules of democratic individualism at the one hand and collective initiatives of antifascism or anti-imperialism at the different. Joyce, Conrad, and Woolf made their most vital contribution to this "critical cosmopolitanism" of their mirrored image at the relationships among narrative and political principles of growth, aesthetic and social calls for for literalism, and sexual and conceptual decorousness. particularly, Walkowitz considers Joyce's critique of British imperialism and Irish nativism; Conrad's figuring out of the category of foreigners; and Woolf's exploration of ways colonizing guidelines depend upon principles of honor and masculinity. Rushdie, Ishiguro, and Sebald have revived efforts to query the definitions and makes use of of naturalness, argument, software, attentiveness, reasonableness, and explicitness, yet their novels additionally tackle a number "new ethnicities" in late-twentieth-century Britain and the various internationalisms of latest existence. They use modernist innovations to articulate dynamic conceptions of neighborhood and international association, with Rushdie specifically including playfulness and confusion to the politics of antiracism. during this particular and fascinating examine, Walkowitz indicates how Joyce, Conrad, and Woolf constructed a repertoire of narrative ideas in the beginning of the 20 th century that have been reworked by way of Rushdie, Ishiguro, and Sebald on the finish. Her ebook brings to the vanguard the crafty idiosyncrasies and political ambiguities of twentieth-century modernist fiction. (Fall 2007)

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To imagine anything else, of course, would be to suggest that the artist could generate a self, rather than merely reveal it. Two decades later, in very similar terms, the critic W. J. ”80 Turner is not suggesting that Stravinsky has intercultural or transcultural sympathies but rather that his work displays an unnatural or theatrical attitude towards national as well as musical traditions. Because he is distanced from his “roots,” Turner asserts, Stravinsky is “too consciously clever,” where he might be more “instinctive” and emotional.

Among these problems, Sartre identifies “the present machinations of the Soviet government . . ”83 To uproot totalitarianism, racism, colonialism, and fascism, Sartre argues, writers need to adopt a literary style that is transparent and descriptive: they need to display the conditions they seek to resist, bear witness to them, directly and exclusively (36–37). “The function of the writer,” Sartre proposes, “is 23 24 I NTRODUCTION: CRITICAL COSMOPOLITANISM AND MOD E R N I S T N AR R AT I V E to act in such a way that nobody can be ignorant of the world and that nobody may say that he is innocent of what it’s all about” (36).

For some, Conrad’s choice made him exceptionally foreign: writing all of his fiction in a language he had to learn, Conrad became not simply a stranger in England but one whose fiction is nowhere at home. For others, Conrad’s foreignness made him the most English of writers, as F. R. Leavis claims in his canonical account of the English novel. Only because he was foreign, Leavis argued in 948, could Conrad choose English and 36 COSMOPOLITAN MODERNISM thus inaugurate “the great tradition” that precedes him: Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Henry James.

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