Modernism Beyond the Avant-Garde: Embodying Experience cover image

Modernism Beyond the Avant-Garde: Embodying Experience

By Jason Baskin
pdf
Format
2018
Year
English
Language
Cambridge University Press
Publisher

Summary

Critics have traditionally maintained that capitalism's resurgence after the Second World War precipitated the transition from modernism to postmodernism. This revisionist account shows that modernism does not simply decline. By foregrounding phenomenological conceptions of bodily experience, Jason M. Baskin reveals modernism's ongoing vitality. Key postwar writers, critics and philosophers, including Elizabeth Bishop, Ezra Pound, Ralph Ellison and Raymond Williams, as well as Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Theodor Adorno, developed an aesthetics of embodiment that adapted modernism to a new postwar landscape. Working across differences of race, gender, national and intellectual tradition, genre and form, Baskin contends that these authors used ordinary bodily experiences, such as perception, memory and laughter, to imagine modes of common being and purpose that were otherwise unavailable in a postwar society dominated by liberal capitalism.

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