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Modernism: A Very Short Introduction [Paperback]

Christopher Butler

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Book Description

Aug. 22 2010 0192804413 978-0192804419
Is a tower block, your unmade bed, your lavatory basin, or the bicycle chained to the gate next door a work of art? Why should a novel have a beginning, a middle, and an end; or even a story? Whether we recognise it or not, virtually every aspect of our life today has been influenced in part by the aesthetic legacy of Modernism. In this Very Short Introduction Christopher Butler examines how and why Modernism began, explaining what it is and showing how it has gradually informed all aspects of 20th and 21st century life. Butler considers several aspects of modernism including some modernist works; movements and notions of the avant garde; and the idea of 'progress' in art. Butler looks at modernist ideas of the self, subjectivity, irrationalism, people and machines, and political definitions of modernism as a whole.

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Modernism:  A Very Short Introduction + Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction + Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction
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A useful introduction, as lucid and engaging as it is concise. / Peter Blair, University of Chester

About the Author

Professor Christopher Butler is Professor of English Language and Literature at Christ Church College, University Oxford. His many publications include Early Modernism: Literature, Music, and Painting in Europe, 1900-1916 (OUP, 1994), Interpretation, Deconstruction, and Ideology (OUP, 1984), and Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2002).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An up-to-date look at Modernism Oct. 12 2010
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Modernism" is a set of cultural, artistic, intellectual and social norms and developments that have been prevalent in the first few decades of the twentieth century. The exact dates that span the modernist movement are debatable, but they are not too relevant for the purposes of understanding what are considered its greatest achievements. This very short introduction focuses on the cultural developments roughly between 1909 and 1939, although many works that predate these years have had strong modernist characteristics. The book also doesn't deal much with the social, political and religious ramifications of modernism, although it acknowledges modernism has had a very strong interplay with the historical developments.

The three main cultural developments that the book focuses on are literature, painting, and music. The book brings alive one of the most intriguing and exciting periods in the history of art and literature. It discusses works by Pablo Picasso, James Joyce, T.S. Elliot, Virginia Woolf, Igor Stravinsky, and many others. The reader learns about the techniques that had been used in creating some of the modernist masterpieces, as well as the motivation behind those particular techniques. The book is extremely interesting to read, and makes one want to pick up a book by Joyce, take a look at a Dali painting, or listen to a Schoenberg piece. This introduction goes a long way in presenting those works of art in an accessible way, without being too pedestrian. It is one of the more inspiring books in the "Very Short Introduction" series.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and interesting introduction June 7 2012
By E. Allen - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good quick introduction. A good supplement to a course on modernist literature or art. What is important is that it shows the Modernist project as something that encompassed art, literature, psychology, science, and politics--in other words, it contextualizes the movement.
3.0 out of 5 stars If you like art and literary theory, this could be a good intro for you, but otherwise.. Feb. 19 2014
By Martin David Middleton - Published on
Being largely ignorant of the subject area, I confused 'modernity' and 'modernism'. I was interested in looking at 'modernity', not 'modernism'. Be careful you don't make the same mistake when ordering the book!
4.0 out of 5 stars Delivers on its title Sept. 19 2013
By Stephen Hicken - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A concise overview of a very big and very slippery subject. Covers a lot of ground with enough information to give the reader reason to explore for herself.
5.0 out of 5 stars A super fast introductory read Aug. 16 2014
By PJ Rellaw - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A super fast introductory read, this handy tool helps one understand the salient features of an era.

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