Modernist humanism and the men of 1914 : Joyce, Lewis, Pound, and Eliot /
Stephen Sicari.
Columbia : University of South Carolina Press, c2011.
xiv, 224 p. ; 24 cm.
1570039569 (cloth : alk. paper), 9781570039560 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Columbia : University of South Carolina Press, c2011.
1570039569 (cloth : alk. paper)
9781570039560 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Bloom and the vulgar body : the Christian imagination and modernist humanism -- A most unlikely humanist: Wyndham Lewis and the revenge for love -- Conflicting humanisms : the development of the cantos of Ezra Pound -- "In the fullness of time" : Eliot's Christian humanism -- Conclusion : modernist humanism a love story.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [209]-215) and index.
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An original approach to modernism in which skepticism and pessimism are usurped by humanist values and virtues
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2011-11-01:
This is Sicari's third book on the roles love, faith, and redemption might play in a reinterpretation of the modernist canon. In the first, Pound's Epic Ambition (CH, Apr'92, 29-4364), Sicari (St. John's Univ.) looked at Dante as an influence on Pound's Cantos and his crafting of a hero in search of redemption. In the next, Joyce's Modernist Allegory (CH, Oct'01, 39-0808), he offered a reading of Ulysses that posited its hero, Leopold Bloom, as a Christ figure and Joyce's style as moving from naturalistic to visionary. Now Sicari expands his "theistic humanist" canon to Wyndham Lewis and T. S. Eliot; the former seems like an odd choice, although Sicari is persuasive, and the discussion of the latter does not really offer anything new. Sicari's thesis is that in emptying out authoritative structures of knowledge with a radical skepticism as part of the Blast era, these modernists were seized with the desire to find something to fill that space. They did so with a humanism reminiscent of the thinking and writing of early modern authors like Dante and Rabelais, constituted in faith, as opposed to an "Enlightenment" humanism of rationality and order. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. J. M. Utell Widener University
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Choice, November 2011
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Main Description
Modernist Humanism and the Men of 1914 is a defense of literary modernism that recognizes for the first time that the deepest goal of high modernism is to establish a renewed humanism for the twentieth century. Recent critiques of modernism have tended to diminish its literary standing by emphasizing the reactionary politics of the period and connecting the literature to those developments as complicit or at least parallel. In his incisive readings of four pillars of high modernism--James Joyce, Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot--Stephen Sicari returns the focus instead to the rich and complex imaginative texts themselves for a fuller reading that rescues these works from the narrow political contexts of postmodern criticism. Sicari reassesses key modernist writers as important thinkers of their age who, through complex and often experimental art, debunked inherited models for representing the human experience. He employs a formalist approach toward a historicist goal, offering original readings of canonical modernists as responding to the rational, reductive view of humanity espoused by scientists and social scientists such as Darwin, Marx, and Freud. In the work of each of his subjects, Sicari traces the emergence of a new or renewed humanism, often connected to the early modern humanist views of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He also explores the interconnectivity of religion and literature in these works, not only in the views of the explicitly Christian writer Eliot and the more obliquely Christian writer Joyce, but also, Sicari contends, in the conclusion reached by all of four writers that a renewed humanism in the modern period will be found in a faith-based understanding of humanity and destiny. In mapping the persistence of a humanist tradition throughout modernism, Sicari delineates a path through the movement that ultimately replaces the skepticism and pessimism of modernity with humanist values and virtues. Modernist Humanism and the Men of 1914 offers a valuable new lens through which to view ongoing theoretical and aesthetic debates within modernist studies.
Table of Contents
Preface: "Mock mockers after that" - A Twenty-First-Century Humanismp. ix
Introduction: Toward Modernist Humanismp. 1
Bloom and the Vulgar Body: The Christian Imagination and Modernist Humanismp. 34
A Most Unlikely Humanist: Wyndham Lewis and The Revenge for Lovep. 91
Conflicting Humanisms: The Development of The Cantos of Ezra Poundp. 124
"In the fullness of time": Eliot's Christian Humanismp. 161
Conclusion: Modernist Humanism-A Love Storyp. 197
Notesp. 201
Referencesp. 209
Indexp. 217
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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