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History of a ShiverThe Sublime Impudence of Modernism$
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Jed Rasula

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199396290

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199396290.001.0001

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Moments, Monuments, and Modernism

Moments, Monuments, and Modernism

Chapter:
(p.248) Coda Moments, Monuments, and Modernism
Source:
History of a Shiver
Author(s):

Jed Rasula

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199396290.003.0009

The coda juxtaposes two canonical aesthetic positions from the nineteenth century that continued to inform twentieth century views of art: Mathew Arnold’s pledge of faith in “the best that is known and thought” and Walter Pater’s exhortation to burn with a gem-like flame. These criteria provoke a crucial question: is the belief in critical judgment at odds with the criterion of intensity for intensity’s sake? I suggest that these apparently irreconcilable views became the defining traits of modernism, which sought to retain them both in agitated interplay rather than attempting a reconciliation.

Keywords:   Mathew Arnold, Walter Pater, critical judgment, intensity, modernism

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