Afterlives of Modernism: Liberalism, Transnationalism, and by John Carlos Rowe

By John Carlos Rowe

In instances of liberal melancholy it is helping to have an individual like John Carlos Rowe placed issues into viewpoint, therefore, 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 a watch 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 through race, classification, or gender. the second one a part of the quantity contains 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 severe 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 cause, while he criticizes smooth liberalism’s lack of ability to paintings transnationally.

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Introduction [ 13 ] that prefigure or in some cases coincide with contemporary processes of globalization. S. narratives by authors who have had broad, international influence: Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives (1909), John Dos Passos’s Manhattan Transfer (1925), William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absa­ lom! (1936), and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952). The political position of each writer at the time she or he wrote the work considered is not self-evidently “liberal,” but each exemplifies some of the key political problems resolved by liberalism in the first half of the twentieth century.

Arthur M. , 1945).  F. O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Em­ erson and Whitman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1941).  Russell Reising, “Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination, and the Emergence of the Cultural Discourse of Anti-Stalinism,” boundary 2, 20:1 (Spring 1993), pp. 94–124.  Lionel Trilling, The Liberal Imagination: Essays in Literature and Society (New York: Viking Press, 1950), p. 5. S. gov).  Louis Menand, introduction to The Liberal Imagination: Essays on Literature and Society (New York: New York Review of Books, 2008), p.

Yet the significance of the name Melanctha offers one part of the solution to the intellectual puzzle concerning Stein’s literary representation of race, ethnicity, and sexual identity in Three Lives. Was Stein adopting the persona of her African-American protagonist, Melanctha Herbert, for purely aesthetic purposes, thus implicating her version of modernism in other forms of popular blackface minstrelsy? Was Stein exposing the social construction of racial and ethnic identities, perhaps of all identities, and thereby deconstructing avant le lettre “race” and “ethnicity” as essential categories?

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