Modernity and Modernism: Key Themes

  • John JervisEmail author


A whole tradition of cultural theory, stemming from Kant and early German Romanticism, suggests a perspective in which representing sensory experience through imagination and feeling is just as significant as the modern project for our sense of a distinctively modern orientation. Hence we examine modern selfhood, as subject of these processes, and expose a tension between ‘modern’ and ‘modernist’ aspects of the self, thus introducing themes central to modernism in the arts. This in turn uncovers a modern regime of sensory embodiment, of relations between vision and touch (optic and haptic), and between the temporal unfolding of the narrative of an ‘inner self’ and the reflexive disruptions of the image. Finally, it is suggested that there is a sense in which anything, including ‘rationality’ itself, may be subject to fashion, hence conveying a sense of the artifice of the modern.


Modernity Modernism Experience Kant Self Fashion 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

Personalised recommendations