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Peter Faulkner talks about the reissue of ‘Modernism’ this April

Modernism is one of the most frequently used terms in discussions of twentieth century literature and culture. Peter Faulkner focusses on this concept, providing an historical account of modernism and demonstrating how modernism relates to Victorian culture.

Here, Peter Faulkner, author of the reissued title, talks to us about Modernism. Faulkner provides a brief overview on the book itself, what has changed since its first publication and why the book is still as prominent today, as when it was first published.

Peter Faulkner’s Modernism was originally published in 1977. As part of the Routledge Revivals program, the title re-issues this April. Titles published within the Revivals series are considered to be distinguished titles by eminent authors of the last 100 years, whose work is no longer easily accessible.

“After an introductory discussion of the prevailing modes of Victorian literature, the book describes the changing attitudes to be found in Henry James and W.B. Yeats, before offering an account of the period 1910-30 in which the modernist movement flourished. The five central sections deal with the early criticism of T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound’s poem Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, the critical essays of Virginia Woolf (discussed by Anthony Fothergill), James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses (by Jeremy Lane) and the relation of D.H. Lawrence to Modernism. A brief survey is then given of developments since 1930, and of critical accounts of the movement; the book concludes with a bibliography. Subsequently, Faulkner published a number of the central critical texts, by the writers named above and associates like Ford Madox Ford and Wyndham Lewis, in A Modernist Reader (1986). Lawrence Rainey edited a more extensive collection of critical texts in Modernism: An Anthology (2005).

Since 1977 there have been a number of further works on the topic, including Michael Levenson’s A Genealogy of Modernism (1984), Gabriel Josipovici’s The Lessons of Modernism (1987), Peter Nicholls’ Modernisms: A Literary Guide (1995), Tim Armstrong’s Modernism: A Cultural History (2005), John Smart’s Modernism and After (2009), Josipovici’s Whatever Happened to Modernism (2012), and David James, editor, The Legacies of Modernism (2012). Some of these books expand the range to consider works of American and European Modernism, and make use of critical approaches including Structuralism, Feminism, Post-Colonialism and Deconstruction, as well as introducing the idea of Post-Modernism. But for students looking for clear and succinct guidance on the movement as it developed in England in the early twentieth century, Faulkner’s Modernism remains a valuable introduction, particularly as the five writers the book concentrates on - Eliot, Pound, Woolf, Joyce and Lawrence - are still those most studied in the context.”

This prominent title is important for anyone with an interest in Modernist Literature. Publishing on the 22nd April, you can order your copy of the title today by visiting: