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Modernism: A Very Short Introduction (2010)

av Christopher Butler

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1341162,493 (3.81)1
Modernism ushered in some of the most exciting innovations in art and literature, from Fauvism, Cubism, and Dada, to the novels of James Joyce and Franz Kafka, to such provocative works as Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain." But Modernism also left many people puzzled in its wake. How can a routine bathroom fixture be considered a work of art? Shouldn't a novel have a beginning, a middle, and an end--or at least a story?  Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. In this Very Short Introduction, Christopher Butler provides a coherent account of Modernism across various aesthetic and cultural fields. Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it is and showing how virtually all aspects of 20th and 21st century life have been influenced by its aesthetic legacy. Butler considers several aspects of modernism, including some classic modernist works, movements and notions of the avant garde, and the idea of "progress" in art. Finally, Butler sheds light on modernist ideas of the self, subjectivity, irrationalism, people and machines, and the political dimensions of modernism as a whole. … (mer)
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Christina Stead Week is a very good week to explore modernism, and so you can just imagine how pleased I was when The Spouse staggered home from the post office with a great big box full of Very Short Introductions from Oxford University Press. LOL I am hoping to develop a whole new level of expertise here at ANZ LitLovers now that I have this mini library of Very Short Introductions to
•Modernism
•Postmodernism
•Existentialism
•Contemporary Fiction
•Literature: Chinese; Spanish; German; French; Russian and Italian;
•Goethe
•the New Testament; and
•Film.

modernism-a-very-short-introductionSo, to Modernism, A Very Short Introduction first of all, because Christina Stead is a great modernist and most of us could use a little help in understanding her work. Alas, she does not get a mention in this little book of only 102 pages, so you will have to make do with my interpretations and extrapolations…

Nevertheless, Christopher Butler endeared himself to me immediately by choosing James Joyce’s Ulysses (1918) as the text to exemplify modernism in literature. (To fit with his unifying motif of the city, he chose Fernand Leger’s La Ville (1919) to exemplify modernist painting; and The Threepenny Opera (1928) by Bertolt Brecht to exemplify a musical example). He begins by telling us that modernism is not just about modernity, that is, in the period 1909 to 1939

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2016/11/17/modernism-a-very-short-introduction-by-chris... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Nov 16, 2016 |
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This book is about the ideas and techniques that went into innovative works of art in the period from 1909 to 1939.
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Modernism ushered in some of the most exciting innovations in art and literature, from Fauvism, Cubism, and Dada, to the novels of James Joyce and Franz Kafka, to such provocative works as Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain." But Modernism also left many people puzzled in its wake. How can a routine bathroom fixture be considered a work of art? Shouldn't a novel have a beginning, a middle, and an end--or at least a story?  Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. In this Very Short Introduction, Christopher Butler provides a coherent account of Modernism across various aesthetic and cultural fields. Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it is and showing how virtually all aspects of 20th and 21st century life have been influenced by its aesthetic legacy. Butler considers several aspects of modernism, including some classic modernist works, movements and notions of the avant garde, and the idea of "progress" in art. Finally, Butler sheds light on modernist ideas of the self, subjectivity, irrationalism, people and machines, and the political dimensions of modernism as a whole. 

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