Modernisms Other Work: The Art Objects Political Life

Paperback | July 15, 2015

byLisa Siraganian

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Modernism's Other Work challenges deeply held critical beliefs about the meaning - in particular the political meaning - of modernism's commitment to the work of art as an object detached from the world. Ranging over works of poetry, fiction, painting, sculpture, and film, it argues thatmodernism's core aesthetic problem - the artwork's status as an object, and a subject's relation to it - poses fundamental questions of agency, freedom, and politics. With fresh accounts of works by canonical figures such as William Carlos Williams and Marcel Duchamp, and transformative readings ofless-studied writers such as William Gaddis and Amiri Baraka, Siraganian reinterprets the relationship between aesthetic autonomy and politics. Through attentive readings, the study reveals how political questions have always been modernism's critical work, even when writers such as Gertrude Stein and Wyndham Lewis boldly assert the art object's immunity from the world's interpretations. Reorienting our understanding of the period,Siraganian demonstrates that the freedom of the art object from the reader's meaning presented a way to imagine an individual's complicated liberty within the state. Offering readers an original encounter with modernism, Modernism's Other Work will interest literary and art historians, literarytheorists, critics, and scholars in cultural studies.

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Modernism's Other Work challenges deeply held critical beliefs about the meaning - in particular the political meaning - of modernism's commitment to the work of art as an object detached from the world. Ranging over works of poetry, fiction, painting, sculpture, and film, it argues thatmodernism's core aesthetic problem - the artwork'...

Lisa Siraganian is Associate Professor of English at Southern Methodist University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:274 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.91 inPublished:July 15, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190255269

ISBN - 13:9780190255268

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Table of Contents

IntroductionTheorizing Art and Punctuation: Gertrude Stein's Breathless PoetrySatirizing Frameless Art: Wyndham Lewis's Defense of RepresentationBreaking Glass to Save the Frame: William Carlos Williams and CompanyChallenging Kitsch Equality: William Gaddis's and Elizabeth Bishop's "Neo" Rear-Garde ArtAdministering Poetic Breath for the People: Charles Olson and Amiri BarakaCoda: Universal Breath

Editorial Reviews

"Modernism's Other Work represents a real advance in how we read some major writers, and in how we understand their own views of their art. Lisa Siraganian argues that important modernists pursued a vision of art at odds with our assumptions about what they believed. She is a fine guide toartists like Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Olson, William Carlos Williams, and others. Anyone interested in what modernists did, in what modernists thought, in what their successors can do, about writing and bodies and visual art, will surely learn muchfrom Siraganian's good book." --Stephen Burt, author of Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry