The juxtaposition of the two works under review isolates a spirited tension in the literary critical field. Although the two books survey roughly congruent sets of canonical, primarily British modernist authors, each tracks a starkly divergent legacy for literary modernism than the other—so much so, in fact, that each stands at a point almost exactly opposite the other within the present coordinates of modernist literary studies. One book seeks to recuperate the efforts of some modernist authors to resist having their works subsumed into the experience of their readers, while the other aims to demonstrate how some modernist authors created works that modeled heightened forms of receptivity for their readers. While one holds up the aesthetic autonomy guaranteed by formal narrative techniques meant to distance readers from texts, the other prizes the inclusiveness promised by formal narrative techniques meant to encourage attunement between texts and readers. Both books provide compelling...
Novel Theory and Technology in Modernist Britain, by Heather Fielding; Modernist Soundscapes: Auditory Technology and the Novel, by Angela Frattarola
Damien Keane is associate professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The author of Ireland and the Problem of Information (2014), as well as essays on modernism, radio, and sound reproduction technologies, he is working on a project that is centered on James Joyce’s recordings and their afterlives in the LP era.
Damien Keane; Novel Theory and Technology in Modernist Britain, by Heather Fielding; Modernist Soundscapes: Auditory Technology and the Novel, by Angela Frattarola. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2020; 66 (3): 392–401. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-8646907
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