Sunday, June 2, 2013

Love at first sight.

Last winter, I fell in love with two things: my husband, and Modernist literature.

I never thought Modernism would be my kind of thing. I've always thought of myself as more of a Victorian kind of girl. You know, Dickens, Brontes, possibly Austen (unless she's a Romantic, which I really can't decide), that sort of thing.

But even though I have a great love and appreciation for these authors, the Modernists are the ones that really get me going. I feel a kinship with Owen Wilson's character in the movie "Midnight in Paris." I would sort of love to go back to the "roaring 20s" and meet all the strange and fascinating authors, watch them dancing and smoking and lying to each other and generally being absolutely intriguing. Maybe even get some writing advice from Gertrude Stein, if I were brave enough. (I totally wouldn't be, of course.)

I'm not saying I'm any kind of expert on Modernism. Far from it. But I recognize myself as a person who wished for an endless amount of time to dissect and discuss Mrs. Dalloway; a person who is a little too obsessed with finding the perfect definition for Modernism (which probably can't be found anyway); and a person who managed to read, on my own free will, The Sound and the Fury, with no class, teacher, or book club to be accountable to. So, yeah, I love Modernism.

My American Literary History class is entering the Modernist movement, so naturally I signed up to do a presentation on it with two other people. Preparation has gone smoothly, in case you were wondering, but not until after I frustrated one of my fellow presenters with my obsession over getting the definition of Modernism just right. (How can you possibly define Modernism as "optimistic"? That's what I'd like to know. --If you do have a defense of this, I'd love to hear it, because you probably know more about Modernism than I do anyway, but I personally can't see it.)

Anyway, I'm vastly excited to talk about Modernism in class, of course, but more important, preparing the project has reminded me how much I just love Modernism.

What do you think of Modernism? Any Modernist works that you absolutely love and that I really need to read?


  1. Okay, so I really like Modernism as well, but Gertrude Stein? Really? Honestly, I can't stand her. I truly have the utmost respect for you if you are able to distill anything useful from her stuff, because I get sick of it real quick. And btw, Sound and the Fury is one of my favorites. I felt like I was going a little bit insane as I got deeper and deeper into Quentin's mind. Great stuff, though.

    1. Yeah okay, so Stein is hard to fathom, but supposedly she was a great mentor to other Modernists. I don't know. There's no need to have utmost respect for me, I don't get her either. (But that's what Owen Wilson did in the movie, so...? Hah. So maybe I just threw that bit in there without thinking too much about it...) I felt the same way about the Quentin chapter! The whole book just gave me the shivers. It may not be one of my favorites, per se, but it was certainly interesting.

  2. Does Hemingway count as Modernist? I love his writing. And F. Scott Fitzgerald's. Mmmmmmmmmmm, those men could turn sentences that melt me.

    1. Of course! Yes, the writing is so lovely...