By Trevor Harris

ISBN-10: 1443813648

ISBN-13: 9781443813648

The oldest be aware in politics is 'new'. The oldest observe within the writing of historical past might be 'modern': it's, absolutely, the most overworked adjectives within the English language. however the indeterminacy is likely to be simply differently of claiming that the problems raised are of a sort which easily won't move away...This number of 8 essays on points of modernity and modernism takes up the problem of analyzing the complicated, yet attention-grabbing convergence of aesthetics, politics and a quasi-spiritual size that is probably ordinary of British modernist brooding about modernity. this can have produced figures whom we now brush off as eccentrics or 'aesthetes', it none the fewer produced figures whom many nonetheless contemplate as in a few feel embodying the nationwide id: what, in any case, can be extra 'English' than a William Morris wallpaper layout? instead of in the direction of socialism in any of its 'scientific' guises, what the British modernist method of modernity can have been pushing at used to be one more mutation of liberalism: a libertarian-humanitarian hybrid during which indigenous radical and Evangelical legacies continue clinical socialism in money, the place fellowship and domesticity aspect out a larger-scale, extra summary 'fraternity', and the place citoyennete or civisme fall down to what George Orwell used to be later to outline easily as 'decency'.

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For the sake of brevity I focus here on Vanessa Bell, whose position, sense of identity and concerns as a modernist can be  30 Julie F. , Towards a Modern Art World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997), 174. , 178. 36 Chapter Two contrasted with those of the Parisians, with respect to both their “professionalism” and their engagement with “representation”. It is true that on one level, that of class, she and her Bloomsbury friends were more “professional” than most members of the Parisian avant-garde; after all, Bloomsbury belonged–as Leonard Woolf noted–to “a powerful section of the ruling class in Britain…an intellectual aristocracy of the middle class”, whose male members “went automatically to Oxford and Cambridge (in the case of Bloomsbury, uniformly the latter) and then into all the most powerful and respectable professions,”32 and very few Parisian avantgardists could lay claim to an equivalent social inheritance.

W. ”,28 and these were found primarily among academic scholars. Among artists, too, the rise of professionalism was a key–and complex–factor in the consolidation of collective identities. 29 In France, too, of course, since the reforms of Napoleon III in the early 1860s and those of the Third Republic in the early 1880s, the  26 The point is well made by Jerrold Seigel, in his Bohemian Paris; Culture, Politics and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830-1930 (New York: Viking Penguin, 1986), chapter 11.

22 How, then, to think the relations between the activities of these London modernists and their perspectives on Paris? To begin with, we need to remind ourselves to hold on to that dialectic I insisted upon earlier between the commonalities and the differences of the two formations. Among the commonalities are those of the status and position of cultural producers in their respective cities. There have in recent years been a growing number of studies of the concept of “intellectual” and its history, particularly with regard to Paris.

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Art, Politics and Society in Britain (1880-1914): Aspects of Modernity and Modernism by Trevor Harris


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