Aarthi Vadde's Chimeras of Form: Modernist Internationalism beyond Europe, 1914–2016 grafts its signature terms together to reconsider the phenomenon known as high modernism, deftly anatomized through a reading of James Joyce, as part and parcel of an always already anticolonial, globally connected, and formally heterogeneous mode. Modernism's long reach encompasses Rabindranath Tagore's early twentieth-century auto-translated poetry and prose, Claude McKay and George Lamming's national-diasporic novels of black America and black Britain, Michael Ondaatje's Sri Lankan and North American landscapes of history, myth, memory, and legend, and Zadie Smith's multiracial postcolonial London. The chimera, a category whose hybrid coupling allows it to “at once delimit the possible and exceed it” (2), serves as a cipher for what Vadde takes as modernism's signature blending of politics and aesthetics. Each of the writers examined, though separated by period and geography, is shown to draw from a...
Make It Modern: The Lasting Form of a New Aesthetic
VILASHINI COOPPAN is professor of literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She is the author of Worlds Within: National Narratives and Global Connections in Postcolonial Writing (2009) and is now completing a book titled “The World at Large: Memoryscapes in World Literature.”
Vilashini Cooppan; Make It Modern: The Lasting Form of a New Aesthetic. Novel 1 May 2020; 53 (1): 115–118. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-8139375
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