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 variety has been an important to new methods of considering and performing past the kingdom. whereas she specializes in modernist narrative, Walkowitz means that variety conceived expansively as angle, stance, posture, and recognition is helping to provide an explanation for many different, nonliterary formations of cosmopolitanism in historical past, anthropology, sociology, transcultural stories, and media studies.Walkowitz indicates that James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and W. G. Sebald use the salient good points of literary modernism of their novels to discover assorted models of transnational proposal, 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 tasks of antifascism or anti-imperialism at the different. Joyce, Conrad, and Woolf made their most important 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 class 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 question the definitions and makes use of of naturalness, argument, software, attentiveness, reasonableness, and explicitness, yet their novels additionally deal with various "new ethnicities" in late-twentieth-century Britain and different internationalisms of up to date existence. They use modernist ideas to articulate dynamic conceptions of neighborhood and international association, with Rushdie particularly including playfulness and confusion to the politics of antiracism. during this exact and fascinating research, Walkowitz indicates how Joyce, Conrad, and Woolf built a repertoire of narrative innovations before everything of the 20 th century that have been reworked through Rushdie, Ishiguro, and Sebald on the finish. Her ebook brings to the leading edge the crafty idiosyncrasies and political ambiguities of twentieth-century modernist fiction. (Fall 2007)

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Adorno rejects Sartre’s image of “alternatives”—butterflies or Jews, communication or silence—as an accommodation to predetermined choices and the rigidity of social thought (80). Committed literature, he argues, should produce discomfort rather than certainty because “the course of the world” will be altered only by the encounter with ideas “that cannot be admitted at any cost” (78). Adorno calls for art that is purposefully “strange or upsetting” (78–79), that ruptures boundaries of taste and convention, that generates experiences that are not “officially approved” (88).

I do not mean to deny that Conrad was a foreigner in England; nor do I mean to underestimate the difficult conditions of immigration and transience in which Conrad’s writing developed. Rather, I propose that Conrad’s reputation comes to shape his history.

64 It is not my aim simply to expand the definition of critical cosmopolitanism to include modernist practices. Rather, I suggest (a) that there is no critical cosmopolitanism without modernist practices and (b) that the implication of modernist practices in critical cosmopolitanism must change what we claim about the relationship between idiosyncratic expressions of culture and the conditions of international sympathy or reparation. COSMOPOLITAN MODERNISM The tradition of writing that I describe in this project is not always ethical.

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