In times of liberal despair it helps to have someone like John Carlos Rowe put things into perspective, in this case, with a collection of essays that asks the question, "Must we throw out liberalism's successes with the neoliberal bathwater?" Rowe first lays out a genealogy of early twentieth-century modernists, such as Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, with an eye toward stressing their transnationally engaged liberalism and their efforts to introduce into the literary avant-garde the concerns of politically marginalized groups, whether defined by race, class, or gender. The second part of the volume includes essays on the works of Harper Lee, Thomas Berger, Louise Erdrich, and Philip Roth, emphasizing the continuity of efforts to represent domestic political and social concerns. While critical of the increasingly conservative tone of the neoliberalism of the past quarter-century, Rowe rescues the value of liberalism's sympathetic and socially engaged intent, even as he criticizes modern liberalism's inability to work transnationally.
Publisher: University Press of New England
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 474 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
A bold and artful analysis, Afterlives of Modernism asks readers to consider the political beliefs that shape the American canon. . . . Highly recommended. Choice"
Recasting our sense of ethnicity in terms allocated from literary modernism, Rowe s book perceptively focuses on liberalism, understood in terms of a belief in individual liberty for all and its concomitant claims for greater social justice, as a political philosophy at the heart of both multicultural US literature and the defense of more traditional literary canons. American Quarterly"