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This book is about the literary representation of selfhood in the Modernist period. It explores developments and interrelationships within a twentieth-century discourse about the self which is both specialised and experimentalist. It is concerned with new ways of representing self-experience in both fiction and poetry, all of which are construed as part of a shared ongoing project. So implied in the discussion will be one kind of description of Modernism itself: Modernism in literature was a movement that radically probed the nature of selfhood and problematised the means whereby ‘self’ could be expressed. This phenomenon may be most easily evidenced in terms of key instances: Conrad’s Lord Jim and Eliot’s Prufrock; James’s Lambert Strether and Pound’s Hugh Selwyn Mauberley; Joyce’s Leopold Bloom and Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway; Ford’s Christopher Tietjens and Jones’s John Ball; Eliot’s ‘Tiresias’2 and Pound’s Ego Scriptor.3 Each instance signifies a literary site where the complexities of self-experience and the problems of their expression are activated and engaged. It is clear that such literary exploration did not take place in a vacuum: a variety of factors are involved in the phenomenon — most obviously, the general diffusion of social alienation, the rise of the psychoanalytic movement, the disorientation brought about by the shock of the Great War and the increasing experimentalism of almost all the contemporary artistic movements.
KeywordsLiterary Discourse Social Alienation Modernist Discourse Literary Site Linguistic Awareness
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- 4.‘The point of view which I am struggling to attack is perhaps related to the metaphysical theory of the substantial unity of the soul’. T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays (Faber and Faber, 1958 ), p. 19.Google Scholar
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