Incredible Modernism

Literature, Trust and Deception

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  • Edited by John Attridge, University of New South Wales, Australia and Rod Rosenquist, University of Portsmouth, UK
  • With the twentieth century came a new awareness of just how much an individual was obliged to accept on trust, and this heightened awareness of social trust in turn prompted new kinds of anxiety about fraudulence and deception. Beginning with the premise that the traditional liberal concept of trust as a ‘bond of society’ entered a period of crisis around the turn of the twentieth century, this collection examines the profound influence of this shift on a wide range of modernist writers, including James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Wyndham Lewis, H.D., Ford Madox Ford, Samuel Beckett, Ralph Ellison and Wallace Stevens. In examining the importance of trust and fraudulence during the period, the contributors take up a diverse set of topics related to reception, the institutions of modernism, the history of authorship, the nature of representation, authenticity, genre, social order and politics. Taken as a whole, Incredible Modernism provides concrete historical coordinates for the study of twentieth-century trust, while also arguing that a problem of trust is central to the institutions and formal innovations of modernism itself.
  • Contents: Introduction: modernism, trust and deception, John Attridge; Part 1 Reading and Trust: Modern proliferation, modernist trust, Leonard Diepeveen; Trusting personality: modernist memoir and its audience, Rod Rosenquist; Credulous readers: H.D. and psychic-research work, Suzanne Hobson. Part 2 After Sincerity: Subterranean folkway blues: Ralph Ellison’s mythology of deception, Paul Sheehan; Counterfeit masterpieces: Gide, Joyce and intertextual deception, Scarlett Baron; False bottoms: Wyndham Lewis’s The Revenge for Love and the incredible real, Paul Edwards. Part 3 Truth and Narrative: Ford Madox Ford, impressionism and trust in The Good Soldier, Max Saunders; Malone lies: veracity and morality in Malone Dies, Samuel Cross; What I may or may not have done in the war: truth, genre and the war books controversy, Jessica Weare. Part 4 Trust and Society: The trust and the mistrust: Ezra Pound in Italy, Sean Pryor; Wallace Stevens’s ‘drastic community’: credit, suretyship and the society of distrust, Jason Puskar; Episodic trust: self, society and sociology in A la recherche du temps perdu, John Attridge; Afterword: autoimmunity, trust and value, Rod Rosenquist; Bibliography; Index.
  • About the Editor: John Attridge is Lecturer in English at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Rod Rosenquist is Lecturer in English at the University of Portsmouth, UK.
  • Reviews: 'The forms of trust that Incredible Modernism sketches - readerly, financial, social, scholarly - appear integral to our understanding of modern experience. The expansive range of this collection is noteworthy and Rosenquist's impressive afterword ties together many of the theories proposed in the essays …' Times Literary Supplement