Many critics argue that the modernist avant-garde were always in opposition to the commercial values of market-driven society. For John Xiros Cooper, the avant-garde bears a more complex relation to capitalist culture than previously acknowledged. He argues that in their personal relationships, gender roles and sexual contacts, the modernist avant-garde epitomised the impact of capitalism on everyday life. Cooper shows how the new social, cultural and economic practices aimed to defend cultural values in a commercial age, but, in this task, modernism became the subject of a profound historical irony. Its own characterising techniques, styles and experiments, deployed to resist the new nihilism of the capitalist market, eventually became the preferred cultural style of the very market culture which the first modernists opposed. In this broad-ranging 2004 study John Xiros Cooper explores this provocative theme across a wide range of Modernist authors, including Joyce, Eliot, Stein and Barnes.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Number of pages: 300
Weight: 610 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
Review of the hardback: '... I would urge anyone working on modernism to go away and read. ... John Xiros Cooper's passionately argued Modernism and the Culture of Market Society ... his is a brilliant polemic. This is an unremittingly materialist analysis ... that situates modernism in relation to the complex process of economic, technological, social and political modernization that created it.' Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory
"...provocative." English Literature in Transition
"Cooper's arguments are appealing, his prose dynamic and engaging, and his scope impressive."
Meg Albrinch, Virginia Woolf Miscellany
"...not just another academic book. This one makes a bid to rearrange the furniture of our minds. More than another literary study, it is an account of how things are and how they got that way, and how (for the most part) it is pretty damned sad...More than anything else, Cooper's book left me itching to find out more about Eric Gill and his Ditchling artisans, about Roger Fry and the Omega Community, to dust off my Ruskin and enter again to that world where art and life are somehow connected at the level of the workbench and street." George Slanger, Minot State University