Planetary Modernisms: Provocations on Modernity Across Time by Susan Stanford Friedman

By Susan Stanford Friedman

Drawing on an enormous archive of worldwide background, anthropology, geography, cultural concept, postcolonial reports, gender reports, literature, and paintings, Susan Stanford Friedman recasts modernity as a networked, circulating, and recurrent phenomenon generating a number of aesthetic suggestions throughout millennia. contemplating cosmopolitan in addition to nomadic and oceanic worlds, she noticeably revises the scope of modernist critique and opens the perform to extra built-in study.

Friedman strikes from large-scale situations of pre-1500 modernities, similar to Tang Dynasty China and the Mongol Empire, to small-scale circumstances of modernisms, together with the poetry of Du Fu and Kabir and Abbasid ceramic artwork. She maps the interconnected modernisms of the lengthy 20th century, pairing Joseph Conrad with Tayeb Salih, E. M. Forster with Arundhati Roy, Virginia Woolf with the Tagores, and objectiveé Césaire with Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. She reads postcolonial works from Sudan and India and engages with the assumption of Négritude. Rejecting the modernist options of marginality, othering, and major/minor, Friedman in its place favors rupture, mobility, velocity, networks, and divergence, raising the businesses and inventive capacities of all cultures not just some time past and current but additionally within the century to come.

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In sum, the grammatical/philosophical approach to a definitional project confirms the partial and misleading nature of any definition that focuses on only the nominal or only the relational meanings of modernity. Modernity is not solely a fixed set of characteristics that might have appeared in a given space and time, such as the European Enlightenment or the twentieth-century avant-garde in the arts. 3 s  the principle of rupture. Modernity is best grasped as a set of meanings that encompasses both the specificities of nouns and the relational structures of comparative adjectives.

Picasso’s primitivism, Fitzgerald’s Jazz Age, Eliot’s apelike Sweeney, Sherwood Anderson’s “dark laughter,” Faulkner’s racially divided South—all exist on the terrain of canonical modernist studies. But not the primary producers of jazz, not the black artists turning to an imaginary (or real) Africa, not the blues singers and the folk leaving the rural South for the urban North in the Great Migration, not the soldiers returning from a brutal war to demand more freedoms. Their linguistic and rhythmic experimentation, intertexutal “signifyin’,” Africanist mythmaking, parodic mimicry, revolutionary fervor, and self-identification with the New do not seem to qualify them for literary modernism in most histories of the movement, even though these same histories frequently list formalist experimentation, citation, mythic analogues, irony, and self-reflexivity as definitional markers.

Buttons. Pierced ears. Long hair. Unisex style. Civil Rights. Vietnam. Pigs. Feminism. Gay Rights. Welfare Rights. Union Rights. What was “modernism” to a graduate student in English and American literature in the heady days of the 1960s? Modernism was rebellion. ”2 Modernism was resistance,  s RETHINKING MODERNIST STUDIES rupture. To its progenitors. To its students. Modernism was the antidote to the poison of tradition, obligation. STORY 2: WHAT DOES A CYBERPUNK REALLY WANT? Picture an aging scholar in 1995, past the half-century mark, entering into her first graduate seminar on modernism in a land-grant university.

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