That the expanding scope of modernist studies is compatible with detailed analyses of the cultural field is evident in two academically rigorous and critically illuminating new books by Donal Harris and Bartholomew Brinkman. Interrogating—without rejecting entirely—the divide between art and mass culture, Brinkman and Harris exemplify an emerging interest in the complex ways in which American writers negotiated their relation to the proliferation of printed materials. While acknowledging the oft-noted tendency of modernists to react negatively to their mass-mediated environment, the monographs in question direct attention to what has been insufficiently appreciated: the positive impact of print culture on literature during the first half of the twentieth century. For Harris, “big magazines” provided the setting for stylistic experimentation and theoretical speculation subsequently put to use in creative enterprises. Significant figures in the history of American modernism benefited greatly from the time they...
On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines
Poetic Modernism in the Culture of Mass Print
Bill Solomon is professor of English at the University at Buffalo. He is the author of Literature, Amusement, and Technology in the Great Depression (2002) and Slapstick Modernism: Chaplin to Kerouac to Iggy Pop (2014). He is currently working on a manuscript dealing with the relationship of black humor to the counterculture in the 1960s.
Bill Solomon; On Company Time: American Modernism in the Big Magazines
Poetic Modernism in the Culture of Mass Print. American Literature 1 March 2020; 92 (1): 166–169. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-8056658
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