Douglas Mao, Rebecca L. Walkowitz's Bad Modernisms PDF

By Douglas Mao, Rebecca L. Walkowitz

Modernism is scorching back. on the sunrise of the twenty-first century, poets and designers, designers and critics, lecturers and artists are rediscovering the virtues of the former century’s such a lot bright cultural constellation. but this frequent include increases questions about modernism’s relation to its personal good fortune. Modernism’s “badness”—its emphasis on outrageous habit, its elevation of negativity, its refusal to be condoned—seems necessary to its energy. yet as soon as modernism is authorised as “good” or beneficial (as loads of modernist artwork now is), its prestige as a subversive aesthetic intervention turns out undermined. The individuals to undesirable Modernisms tease out the contradictions in modernism’s dedication to badness.

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Experts, despite their professed aloofness (their invisibility, objectivity, and neutrality), were by their very construction vulnerable because dependent on the worth granted their knowledges. The vitality Women, Modernism, and the Cult of Experts 23 of the expert classes was contingent on their knowledges being judged both relevant and generative. This contingency made for a kind of congenital transience that not only disclosed experts’ vulnerability but also made apparent that their knowledge had to be continually updated, renewed, and justified.

44 26 Expert Modernists, Matricide, and Modern Culture Absolutely crucial to women’s changed prospects, as Birken allows, was the fact that sex was naturalized differently in the post-Darwin epoch – with difference being, as I indicated above, no longer absolute and with choice gaining prominence as the fundamental exercise of innate human desire. It remains to recall that women, in order to win admission, were perforce required to distinguish themselves by acceding to new hierarchies of differentiation, if not of absolute difference – such as intelligence or aptitude, for instance – that all too easily, implicitly or explicitly, worked to conceal or naturalize other differentials such as race or class privilege.

What is clear is that Woolf wants a seat for herself and for her female collegiates at the table on which the lavish is standard fare and for this reason: if the imagination is to be fecund, if it is to produce, it must consume fine things. In fact, Woolf’s brand of fecundity is both declared and described throughout the essay, in the drafts of the essay, in the diary entries made about the lectures, which become the basis of the printed text, and, also, in subsequent forays into the subject. 10 Yet even if one were exaggerated and the other understated, Woolf’s preoccupation with the imagination and consumption persists, as her diary account of the second lecture at Girton indicates: I am back from speaking at Girton, in floods of rain.

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