Monday, October 21, 2019

THE MODERNIST ART OF FICTION Essays - Literature, Arts, Free Essays

THE MODERNIST ART OF FICTION Essays - Literature, Arts, Free Essays THE MODERNIST ART OF FICTION One possible way of approaching modernism is to place it within a larger cultural framework, by establishing its position to other '-isms' emerging at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. This is what we tried to do in the previous chapter, by having a look at the obvious interrelations between various trends whose main characteristics are the innovation in form and the modification of the worldview. Another approach, which we consider equally profitable and rewarding, is to profit from the theoretical and analytical effort of the modernist novelists themselves, whose essays may fully document our interpretation of the modernist work. If the former approach essentially encourages a view of modernism within a cultural context, the latter provides the interpreter of modernism with a highly nuanced view from inside modernism. Given these two possibilities, this chapter will focus on the critical contribution of some turn-of-the-century and twentieth-century novelists, which is expected to cast proper light upon the artistic intentions and the creative mechanisms involved by the modern novel as it distinguishes itself from the nineteenth-century novelistic conventions. For grounding our decision to devote a whole chapter to an 'inside' approach to modernism, we shall start from a statement Woolf made in her essay 'The New Crusade'. We specifically value it as it has given us, in a way, the indication one sometimes needs as to what pathway to follow for an appropriate analysis of a literary phenomenon which, even if turned into a canon by now, is still prone to controversy. [...] of all the makers poets are apt to be the least communicative about their processes, and, perhaps, owing in part to the ordinary nature of their material, have little or nothing that they choose to discuss with outsiders. The best way of surprising their secrets is very often to read their criticism.[1] The students of modernism may maliciously find in this statement the confirmation of their fear of modernism, as well as a comfortable explanation for their being reluctant to come to grips with such difficult pieces of writing as the modernists' novels. Why should one take the trouble of reading such novels, if the modernists themselves are unwilling to communicate? Why should one make an effort to sympathise with the creating artist, if it is only an elite, if at all, that the modernist addresses? Why should one try to identify the meaning of a world made of such intricately woven ordinary words, if one is not even allowed to aspire to the position of an insider? Just like any instance of literary language, Woolf's words have a certain degree of ambiguity, which could, no doubt, encourage hypothetical questions like those we have formulated above. Yet, these same words may generate a totally new perspective on modernism, according to which reader and writer are part of the same creative act and contract, according to which the reader is cherished and praised as an invaluable contributor to meaning creation. It is no longer fear that one should feel when confronted with the modernist writer and his experiment, but pride and satisfaction that one has been drawn into the process of creation and consequently made into the creator's peer. There are several key terms in the above quotation whose disambiguation and proper understanding are likely to give us the key of access to the meaning of modernist fiction. 'Maker' represents, in ordinary speech, 'one that makes', meaning which is far too general, and therefore vague, for Woolf to have chosen it in her discussion of literature, unless she assigned to it a sense that would fruitfully fit in her argument. As a synonym of 'creator' and 'author', 'maker' is the one who brings something new into being or existence. "Written with an initial capital letter all three terms designate God or the Supreme Being; without the capital they ascribe comparable but not equivalent effects and powers to a person. 'Maker' is likely to imply a close and immediate relationship between the one who makes and the thing that is made and an ensuing responsibility or concern for what is turned out.[...] In many of its human applications (as in king maker, a maker of men, a maker of phrases) maker suggests the use of appropriate material as an instrument through which one gives form to one's ideas."[2] The noun 'poet', which at first sight may pass unnoticed because of the vulgar sense associated to it, i.e. 'one who writes poetry, a maker of verses', acquires in Woolf's

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.