Aristotle and Modernism: Aesthetic Affinities of T S Eliot, Wallace Stevens and Virginia Woolf (Hardback)
  • Aristotle and Modernism: Aesthetic Affinities of T S Eliot, Wallace Stevens and Virginia Woolf (Hardback)
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Aristotle and Modernism: Aesthetic Affinities of T S Eliot, Wallace Stevens and Virginia Woolf (Hardback)

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£55.00
Hardback 152 Pages / Published: 23/05/2008
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Examines literary modernism in its relation to the history of criticism by analysing the role of Aristotelian principles, primarily the notion of formal affectivism, in the critical writings of these three modernists who have invariably been thought to uphold incompatible aesthetic beliefs: whereas Eliot saw himself as a classicist modernist, Stevens and Woolf shared a marked anti-classicist stance. Despite their initially incompatible attitudes to literary history and criticism, this study discloses their convergence on the Aristotelian notion of formal affectivism, demonstrated through specific conceptual shifts. The main feature of the book is its originality of approach, which seeks a 'diachronic' solution to a 'synchronic' problem -- the debate about the Modern, reflected in the claims and counterclaims made by the modernists themselves and by subsequent literary critics and theorists. This methodology was largely dictated by the nature of the subject: the adversarial critical orientation of three modernists, who have never been studied as a group before, and the attempt to reconcile their differences by reconfiguring them in terms of the Aristotelian critical tradition. The author demonstrates conclusively how Eliot incorporated central Aristotelian dramatic principles into his view of literary history and criticism, and, similarly, how both Stevens and Woolf, through historically determined conceptual shifts, endorse and use formal affectivism and dramatic criteria, which, as may be expected, they almost never refer back to Aristotle or to his foremost modernist defender, Eliot.

Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
ISBN: 9781845191719
Number of pages: 152
Weight: 372 g
Dimensions: 152 x 229 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"The most valuable of this book's many insights is that Virginia Woolf's elevation of character over plot was as 'classicist' a gesture as any made by the author of Ulysses. What Woolf meant by 'character' is not far from what Aristotle meant by 'action'. In making this counterintuitive but well-demonstrated point, Edna Rosenthal's book is an irenic accomplishment of high order. It shows that Woolf, Wallace Stevens, and other supposed anti-classicists are part of the same modernist family as Eliot, Pound, and Joyce." --Jeffrey M. Perl, founding editor, Common Knowledge


"Who would have thought that by inserting Aristotle's Poetics into modernist aesthetic debates one could do so much towards healing the 'dissociated sensibility' of modernism itself? Many of its and our passionate critical wrangles--'neo-modernists' vs. 'paleo-modernists, ' Carlos Williams vs. Eliot, Pound vs. Stevens--come to look merely epiphenomenal in the light of Edna Rosenthal's searching analysis of the shared Aristotelian underpinnings of T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and Virginia Woolf. A rare critical imagination here casts our debates about modernism on to a new plane of sophistication." --Tony Pinkney, author, Women in the Poetry of T. S. Eliot: A Psychoanalytical Approach

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