By John Carlos Rowe
In instances of liberal melancholy it is helping to have an individual like John Carlos Rowe placed issues into standpoint, for that reason, with a set of essays that asks the query, “Must we throw out liberalism’s successes with the neoliberal bathwater?” Rowe first lays out a family tree of early twentieth-century modernists, equivalent to Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, with an eye fixed towards stressing their transnationally engaged liberalism and their efforts to introduce into the literary avant-garde the troubles of politically marginalized teams, no matter if outlined via race, classification, or gender. the second one a part of the quantity comprises essays at the works of Harper Lee, Thomas Berger, Louise Erdrich, and Philip Roth, emphasizing the continuity of efforts to symbolize household political and social matters. whereas serious of the more and more conservative tone of the neoliberalism of the earlier quarter-century, Rowe rescues the worth of liberalism’s sympathetic and socially engaged motive, while he criticizes glossy liberalism’s lack of ability to paintings transnationally.
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Extra info for Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique
15 Thus Stein’s interesting description in “The Gentle Lena” of Lena Mainz’s skin color as if it were paint on canvas anticipates Stein’s poetic uses of color in Tender Buttons while calling attention to the “compositional” quality of racial designations. In this instance, Stein’s verbal portraiture reminds us explicitly of the stories told first by Stein and repeated in various contexts by many scholars about how Cézanne’s portrait Mme. Cézanne, 1881 inspired her to write Three Lives. Stein and her brother Leo purchased the portrait from the Parisian art dealer Vollard in 1904.
The latter is a noun, a proper noun, and “nouns are not really interesting” (PG, 126). Stein’s efforts to distinguish poetic, emancipatory language from ordinary, conventional language led her throughout her career to rely on a wide variety of metaphors to call attention to the ways poetic language invests humans with identity and ordinary language commodifies us. Sometimes these metaphors are closely related, as in Stein’s use of “sentence diagraming” in “Poetry and Grammar,” in order to force the reader to choose and thereby activate a certain potential for poetic expression or conventionality lurking in every linguistic performance.
What Stein means, of course, is that poetry offers a radically different way of “diagraming sentences” and thereby “learning grammar” by embodying language, which leads ultimately to what Stein suggests is a “way one is completely possessing something and incidentally one’s self” (“Poetry and Grammar,” 126; hereafter PG). ” The latter is a noun, a proper noun, and “nouns are not really interesting” (PG, 126). Stein’s efforts to distinguish poetic, emancipatory language from ordinary, conventional language led her throughout her career to rely on a wide variety of metaphors to call attention to the ways poetic language invests humans with identity and ordinary language commodifies us.