Tag: Modernism

Modernism, Heal Thyself

Austria’s most famous asylum rises on regular terraces up the shallow slope of Vienna’s Gallitzinberg hill. Seen from the south, the asylum’s 60-odd buildings appear to merge, presenting a continuous ...

The Polyphonic Gospel

At one point in Umberto Eco’s novel Foucault’s Pendulum the narrator speculates about how the Gospels came to be written: “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are a bunch of practical jokers who meet ...

Modernism, Heal Thyself

Austria’s most famous asylum rises on regular terraces up the shallow slope of Vienna’s Gallitzinberg hill. Seen from the south, the asylum’s 60-odd buildings appear to merge, presenting a continuous ...

Claire Messud’s Noble Lie

In the bouquet of novel typologies—the picaresque, the Künstlerroman, the Zeitroman, the novel of ideas, magical realism, hysterical realism, “experimental” anything—the bildungsroman is the least ...

Ordinary People

One fantasy of modernism is telling all there is to tell about the most ordinary of lives. On a train journey from Richmond to Waterloo Station, Virginia Woolf watched “an old lady in the corner ...

Ordinary People

One fantasy of modernism is telling all there is to tell about the most ordinary of lives. On a train journey from Richmond to Waterloo Station, Virginia Woolf watched “an old lady in the corner ...

Tales of the Interwar

Today, the once-provocative suggestion that we live in an age of interminable warfare has become a truism. The claim often takes the form of an observation about the post-9/11 syndrome that drives an ...

Jhumpa Lahiri’s Modernist Turn

Jhumpa Lahiri’s In altre parole announces the birth of a modernist. Written in hard-won Italian and reverberating with the energy of early 20th-century literary experiment, In altre parole describes ...

The Look of the Book

John Hersey’s Hiroshima takes place, as one might expect, in Hiroshima. Originally published in the August 31, 1946, issue of the New Yorker, it recounts what the magazine’s editors called, in a ...

The Novel’s Forking Path

Reading Tom McCarthy’s Satin Island, it suddenly occurred to me why his 2005 novel Remainder is so good. It’s not the reason Zadie Smith gave in the New York Review of Books, however important that ...

Falling Faintly: McEwan’s Latest

In 1893, the Scottish writer William Sharp began publishing poetry under the pseudonym Fiona MacLeod. MacLeod’s poems caught the eye of W. B. Yeats, who admired her lyricism even as he disdained the ...