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The Nomadic Geographies of Anglo-American Modernism


Giovanni Cianci, Caroline Patey and Sara Sullam

The intersection between space and narrative has often aroused critical interest, especially in the cross-fertilization of language and imagination. In Modernist avant-garde culture this activity was particularly intense and turbulent. Not only did science and technology undergo sudden and rapid developments in the early twentieth century, but the powerful geopolitical movements of the time effectively redrew the maps of the Western world. The essays in this collection address the ways in which three generations of British and American artists responded to these ontological changes, as they were both literally and metaphorically ‘thrown’ on the roads.
Drawing upon a new geographical awareness in the work of critics such as Michel de Certeau, Henri Lefebvre, Arjun Appadurai, Edward Soja and Doreen Massey, this book invites the reader to explore the disrupted territories of Modernism. It offers readings of places as diverse as William Faulkner’s Mississippi, Virginia Woolf’s Thames, Ford Madox Ford’s Romney Marsh, W.H. Auden’s islands, Christopher Isherwood’s alternative Berlin and Rubén Martínez’s transfrontera. The writers in the volume explore a geography of edges, borders and trails and investigate the aesthetic modes fashioned by nomadic practices.
Contents: Caroline Patey/Giovanni Cianci: Introduction – Ian Duncan: Darwin’s Voyage: Circumnavigation, World History and the Map of Mankind – J.B. Bullen: The Imaginative Geography of Hardy’s The Return of the Native – Luisa Villa: ‘A cruel double-magic’: Modern Travel and its Complexities in Rudyard Kipling’s Egypt of the Magicians – Giovanni Cianci: Open Space versus Closed Space: The Crisis of Domesticity in Literary and Visual Early Modernism – Max Saunders: Ford Madox Ford and Nomadic Modernism – Daniela Caselli: Geographies of Loss in Djuna Barnes’s Bewildering Corpus – Laura Pelaschiar: ‘In all habitable lands and islands explored or unexplored’: Politics and Poetics of Space in Joyce’s Ulysses – Sara Sullam: Berlin Transfer: Christopher Isherwood’s Anglo-German Poetics – Giuseppina Restivo: The ‘Ulyssean’ and the ‘Kolossalisch’: Joyce and de Chirico in Beckett’s Endgame – David Bradshaw: ‘Great Avenues of Civilization’: The Victoria Embankment and Piccadilly Circus Underground Station in the Novels of Virginia Woolf and Chelsea Embankment in Howards End – Caroline Patey: Channelling Words: Modernist Imagination and the Coast of South-East England – Stan Smith: Island Distractions: W.H. Auden’s Ethical Topographies – Mario Maffi: An Inner Elsewhere: New Orleans’s Fluid Time-Space – Cinzia Schiavini: The Borders of Empire: Diasporic Spaces and the Transfrontera in Rubén Martínez’s The Other Side and Crossing Over – Werner Sollors: Nomadic Geographies, or, ‘The peoples of the world are rapidly being scrambled!’.