Literary Modernism (In Our Time)



this is the BBC this podcast is supported by advertising outside the UK thanks for downloading the inner time podcast for more details about in our time and for our Terms of Use please go to bbc.co.uk/topgear sees he writes greater love than this he said no man hath that a man may lay down his wife for a friend go thou and do likewise thus so words to that effect says Zarathustra sometimes Regis professor of French letters to the University of oxtail its profane it gets the Bible rollin purpose it nods in the direction of grand philosophy it doesn't quite seem to make ordinary sense it could be called an example of modernism modernism claimed to be revolutionary and has been accused of being willfully obscure some modernist writers campaigned for the rights of working women others embraced fascism what were the movements defining features and do the questions that exorcised the modernists at the start of the 20th century have relevance to us at the beginning of the 21st with me to discuss literary modernism is John Kerry Merton professor of English literature at Oxford University and author of the most controversial text on modernism in recent years called the intellectuals and the masses also with us is Laura Marcus reader English at the University of Sussex and Valentine Cunningham professor of English language and literature at the University of Oxford John Kerry modernism's a very loose term when you see starting and what are its most obvious defining characteristics well you could regard that as a question about time that's to say you you might say that modernism began in say the 1890s coming after aestheticism and went on perhaps to the end of the 1920s or you could regard it in terms of figures you could say modernism is what people like Eliot Joyce Pound Virginia Woolf did but if you tie into it as you are suggesting by theme or something that holds all these together that is very difficult I suppose you might take though the notion of fragmentation the idea that the world is breaking up I think various movements in the culture that made modernists feel that quite diverse movements for example um you had Einstein and relativity the notion that the physical world is suddenly quite different that time and space no longer exists as there had been understood to in the political world you have democratic movement you have of course Marxism socialism communist revolution you have movement also I think very important movements in education you have for the first time a maths leadership produced by alterations in educational legislation in the 1870s and following decades and they you therefore have the rise of popular newspapers and popular culture so these different movements led I think to fragmentation in an obvious sense in that the old patterns of life and culture were breaking up and fragmentation in a quite specific literary sense that plots and characters and poems that made sins were coherent somehow no longer seemed adequate to the culture that they were facing well that's a very comprehensive statement would you like to comment or not to add to that Valentine Cunningham yes I mean I think I think this there is a dominant theme of as were fragmentary Ness running through the sort of literature that we think of as modernist and also of course a parallel events going on in music and painting I think we have to ask what drives these results in aesthetic product as it were and I do think that a kind of dominant sort of force really is kind of skepticism there there is a converging at the end of the 19th century of a great series of attacks in various ways on what am i call order and hierarchy and patriarchy and the idea that truth is desirable even let alone knowable and this has great consequences for for writing you you you get as he were that the collapse of confidence in writing the arrival of Impressionism of hesitancy as James Joyce liked to play with the notion of hesitancy you get grand metaphors running through the literature as well as through through painting particularly painting and which have to do with the fading of a keen certain light on experience and the world and so on John Kay talks about mentions think's going on in in the scientific apprehension of the world and yes they they come in very very much you have the collapse of grand narratives with whether Christian or otherwise and the the introduction of a grand kind of metaphoric atmosphere of of Juvia sness we live in the flicker says somebody in in Conrad's heart of darkness and this notion of the light of knowledge being a flickering light from now on accidental that the the cinema with its flickering image was called the flickers and Eliot's very preoccupied with this notion of AB only being able to proceed perceive things in a kind of flickering light and this has grand consequences for the idea of what narrative does and and the kind of knowledge you will arrive at through through and through narrative and also and for for a sense of what the person is what the subject is you know what the family is and so on the knock-on effect of these great kind of skeptical drives is absolutely enormous and they spirit on the writing inhabits this atmosphere Laura Marcus would you like to put your perspective on that and realize that this is these two professors have left perhaps very lean pickings but even so can you perhaps address for us where this came from where this might have started from John Kerry has mentioned the 1890s and talked about following ascetism is there any sense we can get a grip on where this movement which Valentine Cunningham described with such massive terms where she was seeded yes I mean I think one of the things we need to think about is the very term modernism and the way the intense awareness of the new poms war-cries make it new comes from that that comes out of the promise and predicament of being modern I would take it perhaps further back from 1892 somewhere around the 1850s Baudelaire is a is a key figure for us and I think we need to be thinking about the cosmopolitanism the pan-european nature of the movement as well as specificity of the anglo-american modernism's that we might want to go out to talk about so I think the the the urban is something that we link with Baudelaire and the flicker and the flickering and the fleetingness the passing us over toward is very coming up very much out of the new metropolitan experience which these movements are arising out of we need to think about the avant-garde isms of the late 19th century of which modernism is one and modernism in some ways subsumes the avant-garde but we might also want to think about these specific avant-garde movements futurism surrealism aestheticism earlier symbolism and the relationship to that more all-encompassing movement that we call modernism that that shares so many of those features particularly the questions of rupture and newness and a kind of revolutionary aesthetic there's a self-consciousness about people at that time which is remarkable in its in its in its exactness in a way when Virginia Woolf says on or about December 1910 the world to change now then we know she's talking about an exhibition but even so she was on to it as so many of them were that things really were changing for them as artists radically could you refer to the Virginia Woolf Romano or about December 1910 human character changed and I think it's important that she's actually thinking about the change in the world climate through the notion of the subject through the notion of subjectivity and I really do think we need to think about modernism very broadly as a kind of new way of thinking about what it means to be human this is something Valentine talked about so Wolfe is is trying to get at a changing an identity which he actually does through the idea that the cook is now going to come up to the drawing-room and ask you to borrow your copy of The Daily Herald interestingly the popular cultural reference so she's seen class shift as as as fundamental that remark is also linked to the fact that its may refer to the first post-impressionist exhibition which had brought in new ways of seeing new ways of perception so class subjectivity perception all coming together in their 'mark but I think it's also linking to something which is true in rather more narrowly literary terms about the novel which is massive investment in how you represent character and subjectivity and identity which of course takes us back to Ulysses as a primary example of the shifting label mobile boundaries of what it means to be a self can we talk about the technique that how modernist define themselves on carrion and how they knew that they were about something new and how they took that self-consciousness into their work perhaps of Ulysses an example or or Lawrence or wherever you want to come yes well I think you see that the answer to that question quickly takes us into the difference between these various figures called modernist now a law talks about that from our famous remark in Virginia Woolf's to no human nature change human character changed because of the post-impressionists exhibition but when you think of that remark it is extraordinarily um elitist I mean of course most people didn't change at all or even have any high opinion of post-impressionism it was because mocked in the popular press as dorbz and so on and it is a self-consciously elitist remark um and I think the notion that the kook comes up and boys the daily held certainly does not mean that you no longer have a cook very much no to know we live above stairs and their servants are down there still and so I disagreed too with Valentine in a way about of course he's right that skepticism had come in at the end of the century in various ways but I don't see modernist not the central modernist as being skeptics by any means I think they were searching for certainties Elliot found it in eventually and of course Anglo Catholicism Danty the order of the Middle Ages so did pound the troubadours they all look back to ancient established culture and politically of course by no means to democracy democratization was a dirty word for most of the modernists so that those get decision was there they resisted it though democracy was there they felt it to be alien but as I say there are different attitudes Joyce I do think he's genuinely different and of course was divided by Virginia Woolf as Loeb led it's the kind of stuff a bored schoolboy would ride did you go in hot boy I think it was well she I think there's me aboard schoolboy and and how how embarrassing it was the kind of thing you'll expect most self-taught man and how we know all have war they are and how and so on that kind of snobbish reaction to Joyce I think what it signals is how different Joyce was a thing we haven't mentioned yet is of course Freud and Freudianism and that was enormous ly influential in the way people regarded the human mind it links to valentine's point about the flickr and how the human character as its previously been understood break south and that's partly freud and and and enjoys he is following that of course he's trying to be real he's trying to follow a human mind into areas where fiction had never followed it before when you see bloom on the lavatory bloom masturbating at the scene with Goethe mcdougal these are deliberate attempts to open up literature to live very much resisted by most of the modernist who thought it indecent so I think we do come up here against differences between what we call modern is I have problems of you know I have problems with that some way putting it at least quite so starkly but I do agree very much that we have to see differences and and one and we must see as word developments over the period I stick by the notion of scale of grand skepticisms being very important as originators of what we think of as modernism but of course a key thing across the ages is that there's no there's never such a thing as a belief vacuum and what you get is is of course the abandonment all the shaking of old mythologies but instantly the kind of rushing in of new ones and I think that it becomes pretty clear is that when in a few years all of what we might call modernist developments in other words I think very shortly after the first world war you get in a kind of impress even before they're to kind of grand re mythos ization I mean one shouldn't forget you know that Eliot's when he reviewed Ulysses in a famous essay called Ulysses order and myth he said we've come to the end of what he called a narrative method and what what the time is now auspicious for what he called the mythical method and then he rambled on about phrases Golden Bough and psychoanalysis and so on only brought in Yeats and so on and that was a very key sort of thing to think of Yeats and when you think of what happened very quickly in the 20s um is that that Yeats and Windham Lewis and TS Eliot somewhat Ezra Pound definitely Lawrence definitely they're very they they move they're attracted towards the new mythos ization a particularly fascism I mean they they embrace fascistic ideas you can't live without a myth you see but can we talk just just to define modernism and for another moment or two before moving on to to develop it a bit do you think do we have evidence of John Kerry mentioned Freud and 1900 a great book of Freud at night do we have evident and Virginia Woolf's as well her part in the Hogarth press I translated and published Freud in this country do have evidence that Freud was read by modernists was seized on by Joyce in Virginia Woolf and Lawrence and so on and the ideas are specifically I mean I'm interested in how ideas get there where they come from and had come we track them passing through oriented a general kind of infection in the air I think it obviously is much more to do with the way influence diffuses itself slowly though the Bloomsbury group were clearly the key purveyors of Freud in this country they were the translators and the publishers and indeed Leonard Woolf was the first person to write a non medical review of of Freud in India with the psychopathology of everyday life Woolf claims not to have read Freud until nearly the end of her life in the late 1930s and the term that struck her most when she read Freud was indeed ambivalence which seems to me something we could use to sum up modernism more generally but there is ambivalence and oscillation and vacillation in wolf's writing as in so many of the modernist from so much earlier on I don't think we take the date of her literal reading of it as indicative of the influence upon her and it is of course very interesting that she was packing the books of Freud in the Hogarth press probably sitting on them to write her novels at the same time as she was claiming not to read them Lawrence obviously has a key debate with Freud in fantasy of the unconscious and other works I think he found freud much too rationalist and too materialist and insufficiently interested he thought he was too interested in sex in some ways and not enough interested in bodies whereas Freud thinks of the unconscious as actually evil it must is repressed and it must be repressed for civilization to happen Lawrence thought quite the opposite because it must be let out to destroy the old civilization and make a new one and as for new mythology is of course that's true too but what one has to remember is that some of the new mythologies were deliberately chosen because they were exclusive I mean Yates a figure we haven't mentioned so far of course went over to Hermeticism and theosophy and so on and prized it particularly because it shut out the majority the mob the rabble is shut them out and indeed Yates believed they should be destroyed Yates voting on a boiler towards the end of his life there ought to be a war between the intellectuals and the masses and the masses would be destroyed he said the intellectuals would win he used an analogy of the u-boats the German submarines that managed to destroy a huge a huge amount of English shipping because they were cleverer and more technically educated that's what it will be like the mob would be wiped out yet said well that's come to the and one of the core sentences of one of the provocative sentences in your book the intellectuals and the masses which ruffled a few feathers I've pleased a great number of other people you encouraging the early 20th century saw a determined effort on the part of the European intelligentsia to exclude the masses from culture in England this movement has become known as modernism you've talked about Yeats would you like to amplify that a little and then we can talk about that round the table yes I think it's it's instructive to see what sort of readership and the modernists were were aiming at catering for and how tiny it was um TS Eliot's paper The Criterion had a print man of 750 it was my news so it regarded and it is quite specific I think about keeping the light of culture alive in an age of darkness he's very specific about this he talks about the interesting factor is the attitude to universal education that you would think universal education to come in in the 1870s and 80s would generally be greeted by intellectuals as a good thing you educate a new readership you educate the maths not at all nearly all the modernists were against it Eliot said what Lawrence said of course that all schools should be closed at once that boys should learn only primitive methods of fighting and some handicrafts and girls should learn domestic science Eliot said that the number of educational institutions should be cut by one-third and that we should go back to the teaching orders of the Middle Ages you should go into a cloister if you wanted to be a student I mean they were deeply deeply retrogressive about education so when I say that they were no they wanted to exclude the mass I think that is provable simply by their statements about such subject as mass education it's wonderful that actually the the products of mass education are nurturing the reputation of the modernists more than as at the moment Valentine can world you like this one we have to be a bit careful about this like myself we have to acknowledge are definitely kind of elitist groups and elitist minded persons and and artworks and and the mass ness of the time and something like Windham Lewis for example who espouses fascism writes a first book in any in England at admiring of Hitler for example he is deeply preoccupied we live in an era of the masses he is obsessed by that and and one reason why people embraced it seems to me fascism was that that was a political movement which as it were explained or Koba tweeze or could deal with the masses of modernity and but you can there are other things you could do and one things we have to take into account is for example the attraction towards communism as well as towards fascism the and particularly and say in the case of Virginia Woolf her interest in in the Labour Party I mean she and then they go to Labour Party conferences and she conducted evening classes at Morley College she addresses the workers educational Association she goes to meetings and writes for groups of working women and so on I mean she is in currently very conscious of her privilege as if I'd never I've never um stood with with my hands up to the arms up to the elbows in in in a washtub she has a tremendous self-consciousness there all of her difference I think it's a bit unfair actually have John to to stress only the other side the snobbery the anti-semitism and John's on its on well let's take this through then come back to John we have to after Laura's had Laura Marcus has heard her say only to bring you back to the quotation that started this particular paragraph from John Kerry's book the only transient short saw early twentieth century saw a determined effort on the part of the European urgent intelligence to exclude the masses from culture now what's your response to that I we have to understand that modernism Aven guided in these movements are on tip anti bourgeois and I think this is true that what we're all saying is that it could actually go either way either the working class gets lumped in with the kind of bourgeoisie er is this sort of proletarian mass that has to be resisted or you can move to that though there exists moved to the left with working-class being absorbed in as part of the or sympathy with the working-class being absorbed as part of the the artists approach to the world I think actually what you find in Wolff very often is much more a loathing of the middle brow the middle class and then in various essays she talks about the high brow and the low brow having things to say to each other but it's the middle men the middle brow and part of the formation of the Hogarth press was in fact precisely to get away from middlemen of all kinds so it's a middle class and the bourgeoisie who've much more often it seems to me are the but of them of hatred and and contempt but I I think perhaps we have to separate out as I mean in John Kerry's book there is a tendency perhaps to see a writer like Welles and his hatred of the mass as identical with the high modernist the high of an goddess dislike of mass culture and it seems to me that there's a not entirely johnnesha gizzard which you can't see but he those are not actually the the same kinds of resistance to massification and to mass culture oh yeah I never pretended that they were I mean I've written two chapters on welt in the book one showing Wells is fear and hatred of the mass but the other showing that what what Wells tried to do about it well it seems to be quite different from any other of the writers of the period at all any of them in that he wanted truly to save the world he wanted to lead a political movement he had real ideas he was most extraordinary thing I mean it's very hard to find a match Tolstoy perhaps but yep he wanted he be of course one vote a history of the world to educate people came out in serial parts they were Wells Ian's around in the early years of the 20th century William Golding's father was one who truly believed the world could be saved by these new leaders who would be extraordinary called the samurai they were going to be unpaid political leaders of great idealism who would go and also outward bound holidays once a year we had to have written a book or painted a picture there were some ideal men and they would lead the world actually a lot of people be exterminated he said a lot of people would have to go but there's a matter of fact many of these left seemingly left his people believe that Valentine talks about the left you know but actually George Bernard Shaw you know who went along to Fabian meetings said that most most people in Europe most men in Europe had no right to be alive and the a lot of extermination was needed the left believed that and of course that's partly why they went for Stalin who was doing it I think it's the the question which John raises of eugenic thought which is one of the things clearly floating around in a very major way at the the end of the 19th century in the beginning of the 20th which has become so apparent to us and in the post Holocaust years has to be seen as part of that extraordinary melting pot of ideas which we've said could go either way to the good ordered in our Terms to to immense evil and that one does have to preserve some sense the kind of historical specificity of these times and the fact that often I mean worlds who does start out saying being a eugenic thinker actually comes to change his mind later on partly because he looks at his own puny frame and thinks that he's not sure he would have been allowed to survive had there been such extermination going on when she said he said that poetry who was likely the poetry must be difficult he said on a famous occasion I think he even knows about a later period yeah I think he was not only thinking that poetry was likely to be difficult because you know it was for a small cleon tale but but the times were difficult and this would make and ideas have become difficult and and the sense of a person have become made difficulty modern times and under thus inevitably poetry would be more difficult because the times were like that and so I think we have to add that the charges being well not on a particular come in and exactly exactly and particularly the great shock of the new as you might say provided by the First World War monetary I doubt that very much I think all times are difficult what about Victorians who had the coming of the rail with train all about living through the Black Death you know all times are pretty difficult and time changes everything all the time and Valentine said earlier that the axioms of modernism are still alive with us there but I'm not so sure and on that very point indeed about poetry being difficult well who are the great English poets of the post Second World War period they're obviously Hughes Larkin yeah inviting you names I'm sorry writing these that's another point incidentally but writing in English none of all of them like poems that can be understood by schoolchildren that's another when I say that's another point another thing that does not go on for modernism is that a huge amount of English sure now is what we only sometimes walk post-colonial it's written by by inhabitants of the previous colonists modernism has got nothing whatsoever to do with that pound and Windham Lewis would have been shattered to think that Colonials were going to back the English lips three of the few to be shattered it absolutely changed is not true that the accents of modernism are still alive everything's chained I would question that I mean I think that it took the work of rupture it took the break suddenly they saw it was realist styles and forms for the post-modern if we want to call as out of the post-war generation to be able to write as they did or indeed for an ordinal to return to much more lyrical direct forms I think it did I think there was a difference about this period and for political for for social reasons that that did mean that there had to be a total break with conventional forms as they'd been known well the the movement seems to me to have gone the other way that is to say in the 30s I think things go in a way that is not sanctioned or or anticipated by the modernist for one thing the left is embraced instead of democracy and the left being rejected as the modernist did the left is obviously embraced by the thirties writers and poets they try and make themselves into working people they chew chocklit stew lock their teeth they wear cloth caps and so on their antics have been well documented by Martin Greene and others so that that I think is one thing which is not which is not sanctioned or anticipated by modernism also the whole the whole new approach to the mass which is Mass Observation which is political which is looking what it's really like going into pubs documenting them completely unlike modernism so I think there's a radical change and that modernism actually breaks and something else comes yeah I'd like to just throw into that please say what you want to say because I know you want to get in can I just chuck it in this idea of the mass which we've sat through now for quite a long time in this program which which seems to me to be a way of wiping out denigrating and dispensing with the majority of people it's a useful word it's sort of new tourism and turns them and the masses into us that word comes up again and again in the conversation in the ideas about modernism and is the sort of submerge seven-eighths it seems to me of this iceberg that were could be talking about I'm not sure that the mass and modernism all the modernism is to be so much defined around this question of the Masum and I perhaps would take it back to these questions of identity subjectivity the relationship between the interior and the outside world which obviously relates to the question of private and public and individual and social but that this this sense of mass the hatred of the mass or the masses is not for me the absolute defining feature though there have been interesting arguments made about the relationship between the feminization of the mass which may explain some of the misogyny that we may go on to talk about well I'm not gonna commend John Kerry I mean I would say that to go back to watch over saying a about great crises in the past there had never been such a crisis for for the world as the First World War and it's not accidental that the mass death is is the great theme and absorbed quickly into that the stirrings of what we think of as modernism the first of all cancer seeing is the apotheosis of all these themes about break and rupture and fragmentation and a none destruction and and so on it's the apotheosis of Wyndham minuites blast movement and the futurism and so on and you've cut and what is it um it is it provokes a profound sadness as it were the death of ordinary people of the death of the mass death of men and that quickly feeds into the great modernist texts like The Waste Land and Jake was ruined by Virginia Woolf and Ulysses and and so on all marked emphatically it seems to me by by mass slaughter and I don't think one can separate as it were the what we've been calling the elitist preoccupations of the aesthetic movements from that profound sense of shock well my point my point about the mess in the book is of course that the mess doesn't exist as you said the math is a word you use for people you don't know and who are not your friends it's just the great out there therefore it is infinitely fiction Eliza Boleyn Utley plastic if you if you configure it as the young man who died in the First World War of course it's a sympathetic mass but if you configure it as the bourgeoisie as law was saying though they're the same people I mean they were they young bourgeois men um it's a deeply horrible mass the reason why people like Virginia Woolf Stamp couldn't stomach the bourgeoisie but liked the lower classes was of course because they could patronize the lower classes whereas the bourgeoisie was a real threat to them was making money it's very simple I think and that's why the peasant figure is such a favorite with modernist writers the peasant was tremendously popular with a 2-pound Wynnum Luis Hitler of course but also very keen on German peasants who were going to farm the Ukraine once he had taken it and exterminated the Slavs who lived there so peasant is good but for tea a chariot in the wasteland for example to be a Clark house agents Clark of a typist that's really bad because you have to do with machines and machines are bad things in the old and William Morris Ruskin Ian way after the in the 1930s machines become good to work with the machines is good to be a coal miner is very good because that's how all well and such people configure the math so the my suppose doesn't exist at all it's just a term that we use to configure the other that we aren't but widen is in the 1930s are the left inclined writers who are deeply as it were at least in spirit I'm committed to the the idea of ordinary people isn't it interesting that they take TS Eliot's Prufrock as a great example of the quote little man the Charlie Chaplin figure and so on who represents utter ordinariness precise in a way represents one of the clerks of the world you might say and whom of course TS Eliot came perhaps to feel more distant from as time went on but when you think of you know the last song of Jeffrey proof or as a kind of great um it's a kind of a foundational modernist Pat poem in which the the challenged self foot who am i what am i perhaps on this but you know no it's no longer possible to be a grand heroic figure and so on all done extremely I'm not Prince Hamlet all done extremely sympathetically I think Elliot entering on the inside of that of proof rods kind of troubled themself on and here is Prufrock um just your ordinary guard I mean it's not accidental that Lawrence starts off writing about the working class you know he's praised them early on for getting on the inside of what you might call provincial ordinariness and and the bourgeoisie of course don't like that they see that the stage was black with minors and somebody wrote one of lances place um Lawrence is regarded as getting on the inside of ordinates of rigidly abandoning it but Laurel you like to given him yeah on the bond prufrock and or and des Plantes Moberly I mean they both seem to me about figures who failed to be the kind of the poet that that is writing them in that sense I'm not sure I'd see them as espousing the the virtues of of the little man can I cut across this just because we reaching the end of this and ask you I think you'd be ridiculous not to ask you about the what sort of what is modernism through renewal as it were on the one hand and Lawrence on the other and they're published about the same time the second decade is a decade of the century of the earth century what are they doing to the idea of feminism and how far is that part of modernism I know that you're particularly interested yes I mean I think we have been talking about with the exception of Wolfe and this is very standard relate about modernism as if it was mostly male writers this is not the case and I could produce a long list of women writers who would be very important to the moment Dorothea Richardson Gertrude Stein mean alloy HD I mean I won't go on and I think the question then becomes do we redefine the terms of modernism to include these writers or do we say modernism wasn't aggressively in some ways masculist movement which which sought to exclude the feminine from its terms and precisely the ways that it sought to exclude the mass I think the question of gender has to come in very importantly here and I think there is an issue about the way that many of these writers wolf took the androgen figure is central to remove one's own but there are other writers as well for Eliot for Joyce the figure of the androgen the bisexual was terribly important that there is a kind of gender ambivalence and ambiguity determining modernism as well as the kind of sexism a misogyny so it's a time of extremely labile sexual gender identifications and that's why I think it's become so important for the later 20th century and Lawrence's position here becomes ripped up doesn't it in the seventh in 1970s with the Kate Miller book but at the time he's seen as somebody who can understand some of his earlier books could understand us to use the phrase gay get under the skin of women in a way which writers have rarely done and that is part of his power and his appear is that right John Kerry well I think that is true and I think that the Kate Millett book was enormously damaging to him but in some ways unfairly I don't read say Sons and Lovers as a book that is unsympathetic to women of course Lawrence wasn't open to a lot of aspects of women's lives and of course he was in some ways deeply masculinist if you think of her though of a short story like son were the woman had a kind of love affair with the son I mean he does think of women as connected with what he believes in and I mean the deep movements of sexuality and and the earth and these can be marked these turns but he isn't in any simple sense anti-woman as say Windham Lewis was Wyndham Lewis seems to me to be a virulent anti-woman figure because he thought that women represented things he hated physically sort of softness and flabbiness and somehow wasn't classical hardness him that's all his philosophy seems to me to amount to a few stupid phobias so and I think are not what Anissa like that but Lawrence I don't think is so simple finally and I'm afraid briefly when we look at Lawrence and Virginia Woolf and Joyce and is there a sense in which the paradoxes that we talking about figures of modernism who don't much like modernity they don't much like new technologies they don't like new inventions they don't like the new life they see around them they certainly don't like lots of people voting and lots of people saying well we have a claim under culture to would you make of that that is true and and it is interesting technology comes to be regarded as linked up with the first professor war is the great technological war and I think that just as I think the first world war has a lot as you were of input in in this story I think its technologies ation of warfare is is one key aspect of that and it helped I think kick consciousness into a kind of deep hostility to to the money we shouldn't though forget all the time the paradox of all this as Laura we're saying these art movements are emphatically linked up with the city and there's nothing more kind of modern than the modern Cosmopolis Wolff enjoys particularly celebrate the city and Wolff celebrates speed and motion did indeed write a very interesting and informed essay about the cinema that it's Lawrence who loathes the cinema because it brings a light into dark dark places which should remain dark so I think again we're back with our split between left and right that we can think of those modernists who for whom modernism was the modernity of the new city and of its speed and of its technologies and of the new relations of anonymity that it that a bit of a new way of knowing people that the city actually bought into being so I wouldn't see aunty modernism anti modernity as definitional of modernism finally drunker well I think I would and I are interested by the point about the cinema I think photography was a huge shock to the arts Walter Benjamin in a famous essay talks about it you could say that it's born modern art modern art had to move away from representation representation fact realism were all associated with the masses with the new Illustrated newspapers which were executed by the modernists and in fact Virginia's Wolf's brilliant essay on the cinema is about how it's impossible for the cinema to turn literature into cinematic art what she wants the cinema to be is a kind of surreal a kind of art cinema not the way the cinema went at all so I take modernism as yes to be very distinctly anti-modern well thank you all very much thank you John Kerry Valentine Cunningham and Laura Marcus and thank you all very much for listening we hope you've enjoyed this Radio 4 podcast you can find hundreds of other programs about history science and philosophy a BBC code at UK forward slash Radio 4

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