Darwin — — Argumentation 9 1: This is all very well written and intelligently thought out. Cindy Rosen rated it really liked it Nov 17, Perhaps this is general art history, but it was my first interaction with it. Toward the Postmodern 8. History of Western Philosophy. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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I feel ashamed to admit it, but it seems my interest in modernism is inversely proportional to its relevance to contemporary culture. One of the quandaries of writing about modernism in the age of post-modernism and one that Huyssen comes close to identifying is that the canon of authors, the available and acknowledged material that need be the source material of any interpretation of the concept, is provided by those "high modernist" critics Adorno, Greenberg, etc.
For Huyssen Adorno unlike Benjamin opposes the avantgarde project of sublating art into life because he finds its fulfilment in totalitarianism. Huyssen set out to show the symbolic linkage of women and mass-culture in the modernist imaginary: the subject was already well documented by that time, and has received extensive treatment since under the auspices of the subsequent many readings of modernism, which have emphasised both the multiple paths taken by women to settle the artistic and literary sphere, and the porousness of the avantgarde and modernist categories.
Hence the ambivalent gendering of the writer, living and acting within a reality increasingly perceived as formless and female, while practising the virile art of sub creation. We might add that outside the particular confines of the avantgarde and its immediate precursor, varied conceptions of the creative process also complicate the gendering of authorship: the persistent notion of afflatus, and the concomitant notion of the poet as prophet, and later as interpreter, and the role given to the unconscious all hint at the artist as vessel, is hardly a masculine archetype.
In this model, the artist is masculine inasmuch as he has authority onto human society, but remain feminine insofar as he is "enthused", as he receives inspiration within himself. If we consider the eroding of the frontier between poetry and the novel in the early XXth century, we might see that soon the divide might be traced more along the lines of art as interpretation feminine vs art as construction masculine , a distinction which solidifies with the inter-war return to order.
This is all very well written and intelligently thought out. On the whole this did not turn out to be the life-changing experience I expected, and although I can see why it is so often quoted, I can also see that it is a bit dated. If one day I give post-modernism its due attention I will certainly return to the book, but as far as modernism is concerned, much of what is said here has since been retold, expanded in a format that seems to me clearer, and maybe less partisan.
The first essay itself is well worth reading and I am surprised no one seems to have scanned it yet
After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism
After the Great Divide : Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism