The Art of Scandal: Modernism, Libel Law, and the Roman a Clef by Sean Latham

The Art of Scandal: Modernism, Libel Law, and the Roman a Clef

bySean Latham

Paperback | August 13, 2012

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The Art of Scandal advances a relatively simple claim with far-reaching consequences for modernist studies: writers and readers throughout the early twentieth century revived the long-despised codes and habits of the roman a clef as a key part of that larger assault on Victorian realism we nowcall modernism. In the process, this resurgent genre took on a life of its own, reconfiguring the intricate relationship between literature, celebrity, and the law. Sean Latham summons cases of the novel's social notoriety - and the numerous legal scandals the form provoked - to articulate the material networks of reception and circulation through which modernism took shape, revealing a little explored popular history within its development. Producers as wellas consumers used elements of the controversial roman a clef, a genre that challenges the idea of fiction as autonomous from the social and political world. In turn, this widespread practice provoked not only a generative aesthetic crisis, but also a gradually unfolding legal quandary that ledBritain's highest courts to worry that fiction itself might be illegal. Modernism sat squarely, for a time, between literature and the law.With skillful close readings aided by extensive archival research, Latham illuminates the world of backbiting, gossip, litigation, and sensationalism through chapters on Oscar Wilde's trial, Joyce's Ulysses, celebrity salons, and Parisian bohemia. Original, colorful, and perceptive, The Art ofScandal both salvages the reputation of the roman a clef form and traces its curious itinerary through the early twentieth century. Seeking out the best new interdisciplinary work, this series explores the cultural bearings of literary modernism across multiple fields, geographies, symbolic forms, and media.

About The Author

Sean Latham is Professor of English at the University of Tulsa. He is the Director of the Modernist Journals Project and the author of Am I a Snob? Modernism and the Novel and Joyce's Modernism.
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Details & Specs

Title:The Art of Scandal: Modernism, Libel Law, and the Roman a ClefFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:August 13, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199922934

ISBN - 13:9780199922932

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Table of Contents

Forward1. Introduction: Fact, Fiction, and Pleasure2. True Fictions and False Histories: The Secret Rise of the Roman ... Clef3. Open Secrets and Hidden Truths: Wilde and Freud4. Libel: Policing the Laws of Fiction5. The Novel at the Bar: Joyce, Lewis, and Libel6. The Coterie as Commondity: Huxley, Lawrence, Rhys, and the Business of RevengeNotesSelect Bibliography of Modernist Romans ... ClefIndex