By Jessica Berman
During this e-book, Jessica Berman claims that modernist fiction engages at once with early twentieth-century variations of group and cosmopolitanism. even supposing modernist writers enhance notably assorted types for social association, their writings go back time and again to problems with commonality and shared voice, fairly when it comes to dominant discourses of gender and nationality. The writings of Henry James, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and Gertrude Stein not just inscribe early twentieth-century anxieties approximately race, ethnicity, nationality and gender, yet confront them with calls for for contemporary, cosmopolitan types of neighborhood.
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Extra info for Modernist Fiction, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Community
Rather, narrative form in late James may be seen to enact another, diﬀerent version of Modernist ﬁction, cosmopolitanism, and the politics of community commonality, one where limited perspectives begin the very movement towards community. In The Ambassadors, for example, community is partially constructed in the play between the several incomplete perspectives evoked by the text and the common recognition of the limitation of their interconnection, rather than in their (or our) shared consensus.
Thus, the use of post-modern theoretical perspectives here is two-fold: to help illuminate previously hidden ‘‘lineaments’’ in modernist writing and to demonstrate the continuing relevance of some of its dimensions, even within signiﬁcantly changed and still changing cultural milieux. The question of location and history also returns us to Benjamin, to the parable of the storyteller with which this chapter began, and to the double sense of distance that intervenes between us and the storytellers of previous eras.
Community therefore emerges not only as something that is both expressed and perpetuated in narratives, but also something historically contingent, and concerned with its contingency, subject to variation in material circumstances as well as to reconceptualization in the minds of the people. In both its new manifestations and its old, it is also something inherently linked to the experience of geographical distance, for it operates in translating the experience of the faraway into a story that can be told in the here and now.