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Out of ContextThe Uses of Modernist Fiction$
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Michaela Bronstein

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190655396

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655396.001.0001

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Works for Other Times

(p.1) Introduction
Out of Context

Michaela Bronstein

Oxford University Press

We often think of literary canons as representing the hegemony of the past over the present. The introduction asks us to think instead of the way the present reshapes the past to serve its needs. The literary past, in other words, becomes a set of tools for producing new work and thought in the present. Rather than see the literature of the past as a means for us today to critique its historical context, we can see older works as providing a whole host of later readers with modes of engaging with political questions in their own times. Modernist authors, in this view, cultivate forms of commitment and belief rather than critique and skepticism. Modernist literary innovation teaches us, in other words, not the hermeneutics of suspicion but its alternatives.

Keywords:   critique, modernism, reading, transhistorical, literary influence

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