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The Cambridge Companion to European Modernism

by Pericles Lewis

Modernism arose in a period of accelerating globalization in the late nineteenth century. Modernist writers and artists, while often loyal to their country in times of war, aimed to rise above the national and ideological conflicts of the early twentieth century in service to a cosmopolitan ideal. This Companion explores the international aspects of literary modernism by mapping the history of the movement across Europe and within each country. The essays place the various literary traditions within a social and historical context and set out recent critical debates. Particular attention is given to the urban centers in which modernism developed from Dublin to Zurich, Barcelona to Warsaw and to the movements of modernists across national borders. A broad, accessible account of European modernism, this Companion explores what this cosmopolitan movement can teach us about life as a citizen of Europe and of the world.

Religious Experience and the Modernist Novel

by Pericles Lewis

The modernist period witnessed attempts to explain religious experience in non-religious terms. Such novelists as Henry James, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka found methods to describe through fiction the sorts of experiences that had traditionally been the domain of religious mystics and believers. In Religious Experience and the Modernist Novel, Pericles Lewis considers the development of modernism in the novel in relation to changing attitudes to religion. Through comparisons of major novelists with sociologists and psychologists from the same period, Lewis identifies the unique ways that literature addressed the changing spiritual situation of the early twentieth century. He challenges accounts that assume secularisation as the main narrative for understanding twentieth-century literature. Lewis explores the experiments that modernists undertook in order to invoke the sacred without directly naming it, resulting in a compelling study for readers of twentieth-century modernist literature.

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