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Aesthetic Afterlives

Aesthetic Afterlives

Literary Modernity and the Concept of Irony

by Andrew Eastham
Publication Date: 01/09/2011
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This an original theoretical reading of the emergence of British literary modernity, beginning with Victorian Aestheticism and tracing its afterlives into the 21st Century. Since the development of British Aestheticism in the 1870's, the concept of irony has focused a series of anxieties which are integral to modern literary practice. Examining some of the most important debates in post-Romantic aesthetics through highly focused textual readings of authors from Walter Pater and Henry James to Samuel Beckett and Alan Hollinghurst, this study investigates the dialectical position of irony in Aestheticism and Modernism. "Aesthetic Afterlives" constructs a far-reaching theoretical narrative by reading this dialectical condition back from the end of the twentieth century to the Victorian fin de siecle and to the emergence of Modernism. Referring to the recent debates about the 'new aestheticism' and to Ranciere's work on the politics of aesthetics, Eastham asks how a utopian Aestheticism can be reconstructed from the problematics of irony and aesthetic autonomy that haunted writers from Pater to Adorno.
Literary studies: from c 1900 -
Publication Date:
Continuum Publishing Corporation
Country of origin:
United States
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