Barnes wrote in a letter, “there is always more surface to a shattered object than a whole object”: the surfaces of Barnes’s literary and art objects are reflected in myriad ways in the chapters here. Essays consider Barnes’s work in relation to mass media; the promotion, publication, and reception of modernism; modernists as critics; wit; authorship, legitimacy, and genealogy; anachronism; late style; the reception of metaphysical poetry; the queer grotesque; the representation of humans, outcasts, animals, and selves; sovereignty; borders of nation and language; the book as object in film remediations; the affects involved in reading and criticism; and structures of queer community. The introduction surveys the relationship between Barnes criticism and criticism of modernist writing from the early twentieth century to the present, and the afterword reads Barnes’s style against Eliot’s modernism. Shattered Objects introduces a Barnes who is full of possibility for current and future work in the literary critical discourses of the twenty-first century.
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Modernism, Periodicals, and Cultural Poetics addresses how late modernist poetry in Britain tended toward a culturalist expression and importantly how this occurred within the pages of literary periodicals. ‘Periodical formations’ describe networks of exchange within and between different literary periodicals that condition the types of poetry published and the kinds of poetic discourse that come to predominate. A re-emphasis on periodical production following the publication of Eliot’s The Waste Land and culminating with the pre-Movement magazines of the 1940’s illustrates a complex and diverse series of debates and negotiations about not only the tradition of English poetry and its role in contemporaneous form, but also how poetry of the period related to the avant-garde trends prominent on the European continent and in America. By focusing on periodical formations, the development of what are now accepted understandings of the period can be better addressed, and certain lasting assumptions can be demythologized.
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