Following last year’s symposium on modernism and time and an essay series on place in modernism, Modernist Studies Ireland introduces a new series of short essays (1,000-2,000 words) celebrating the moments that made modernism – meetings, epiphanies, compositions, censorships, concerts, disasters, days, exhibitions, and publications familiar and unfamiliar – finding new meanings and contexts in moments giving rise to all kinds of cultural events.
The frame of reference is broad and contributors may choose write about any aspect of modernist culture within the theme of “Modernist Moments”, such as literature, art, music, architecture, or philosophy (as well as their intersections).
To take the example of the anniversary year 1922, which Pound decorated as year One p.s.U. [post scriptum Ulysses], contributors might take inspiration from some of the areas listed below:
- Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room
- TS Eliot’s The Waste Land
- Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Other Stories
- Claude McCay’s Harlem Shadows,
- James Weldon Johnson’s The Book of American Negro Poetry, Edith Wharton’s Glimpses of the Moon
- F Scott Fitzgerald’s Tales of the Jazz Age
- Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt (reviewed by Rebecca West as having ‘that something extra, over and above, which makes the work of art’)
- TE Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom,
- Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,
- Sigmund Freud’s The Ego and the Id;
- the completion of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus,
- Franz Kafka’s The Castle
- Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu (followed by the author’s death)
Meetings and Moments
- WB Yeats’s appointment as Senator of the Irish Free state (despite his observations on the coming Civil War in Ireland ‘I could do no good in this whirlpool of hatred’)
- the foundation of The Criterion with contributors from Herman Hesse to Paul Valéry
- the première (drawing on George Herriman’s cartoons) of John Alden Carpenter’s Krazy Kat: A Jazz Pantomime
- Hemingway’s taking tea with Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas in their Paris apartment
- André Breton’s move to 42 Rue Fontaine (the ‘HQ of Surrealism’)
- Kipling’s meeting with Federico García Lorca after his lecture on early Andalucian song
- the beginning of D.H. and Frieda Lawrence’s grand tour to Sri Lanka, Australia, and New Mexico
- Louis Armstrong’s monumental decision to take the train (and his cornet) north from New Orleans ‘I arrived in Chicago about eleven o’clock the night of August 8, 1922 (I’ll never forget it)’.
Any of these, and many more, had the most vital cultural consequences: our short essay series highlights some well-known and lesser-known modernist moments, whether from 1922 or any other time in the modernist period.
The suggested length is 1,000 – 2,000 words and will be published online, open-access, throughout 2022. A slightly longer piece investigating James Joyce’s Dublin meeting with WB Yeats, and its artistic consequences (including in Ulysses) will open the series.
For further information, to contribute, or propose a contribution, please contact email@example.com.