Modernist Futures sets out to investigate “precisely how and why modernist commitments, principles and aesthetics continue to inform the contemporary novel” (1). In five chapters centering on the works of Milan Kundera, Philip Roth, Michael Ondaatje, J. M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan, and Toni Morrison, James looks into the complex and often intricate dynamics of innovation and inheritance that inform what he identifies as the contemporary novel's distinctly modernist practice of “making it new.” James's choice of titles for some of his chapters is certainly very intriguing, as he draws our attention to Ondaatje's “Cubist imagination” and Coetzee's “politics of minimalism” as well as his portrayal of McEwan as a “reluctant impressionist.”

Following in the footsteps of T. S. Eliot's “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1921) rather than Harold Bloom's Anxiety of Influence (1973), both of which were notably much more interested in...

You do not currently have access to this content.