Modernism and Mass Politics: Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Yeats

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9780804725163: Modernism and Mass Politics: Joyce, Woolf, Eliot, Yeats

In the early twentieth century a whole subgenre of sociological-political treatises purporting to analyse the mass mind emerged all over Europe. Examining in detail the surprising similarities between modernist literature and these theories of crowd psychology, this study challenges the accepted view of the character of literary modernism. Through careful reading of major works of Joyce, Woolf, Eliot and Yeats, it shows that many modernist literary forms in all these authors emerged out of efforts to write in the idiom of the crowd mind. Modernism was not a rejection of mass culture, but rather an effort to produce a mass culture, to produce a culture distinctive to the twentieth century.

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