Modernity And Modernism: Preliminary Theoretical Considerations

  • Mihai I. Spariosu
Part of the Modernism and … book series (MAND)


Although in the last few decades numerous studies have attempted to come to grips with exile and utopia as independent concepts, such studies have largely failed to see the close correlation between them or to consider them in a general cultural-theoretical framework. In the present study, I shall argue that the two concepts are kindred forms of ludic liminality. Furthermore, I shall demonstrate that both of them are inextricably linked to the idea of modernity. But, before I can undertake this task, I need briefly to review the principal ways in which these concepts have so far been employed in contemporary cultural theory and clarify my own understanding of them. In Part I, therefore, I shall first consider modernity and modernism, then play and liminality, and finally exile and utopia, pointing out the complex conceptual and cultural-historical links between all of these terms.


French Revolution Conceptual Pair Binary Opposition Cultural Authority Western Modernization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    For the modern temper of Catullus and the poetae novi, see, for example, Charles Martin (1992), Catullus. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See Shelley (2013), Prometheus Unbound: A Lyrical Drama in Four Acts, with Other Poems, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 6.
    For an interesting discussion of Baudelaire’s concept of modernité, see, among others, Paul de Man (1971), “Literary History and Literary Modernity,” in Blindness and Insight, New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    For a full treatment of the issue of the relationship between modernity and history, see Roger Griffin (2010), Modernism and Fascism. The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler, Hampshire: Palgrave-Macmillan, pp. 50–54. Further page references are to this edition.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    For the Age of Biedermeyer, see Sengle Friedrich (1971), Biedermeierzeit: Deutsche Literatur im Spannungsfeld zwischen Restauration und Revolution 1815–1848, Stuttgart: Metzler VerlagGoogle Scholar
  6. Nemoianu Virgil (1984), The Taming of Romanticism: European Literature and the Age of Biedermeyer, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    For a full argument see Mihai I. Spariosu (1991), God of Many Names: Play, Poetry, and Power in Hellenic Thought, from Homer to Aristotle, Durham and London: Duke University Press. I shall also briefly discuss this agon as it appears in the epic of Gilgamesh and other ancient narratives in Chapter 4, below.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mihai I. Spariosu 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihai I. Spariosu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations