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American Modernism's Expatriate Scene

The Labour of Translation

Daniel Katz

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This study takes as its point of departure an essential premise: that the widespread phenomenon of expatriation in American modernism is less a flight from the homeland than a dialectical return to it, but one which renders uncanny all tropes of familiarity and immediacy which 'fatherlands' and 'mother tongues' are traditionally seen as providing. In this framework, similarly totalising notions of cultural authenticity are seen to govern both exoticist mystification and 'nativist' obsessions with the purity of the 'mother tongue.' At the same time, cosmopolitanism, translation, and multilingualism become often eroticised tropes of violation of this model, and in consequence, simultaneously courted and abhorred, in a movement which, if crystallised in expatriate modernism, continued to make its presence felt beyond.

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Chapter One
Native Well Being: Henry James and the 'Cosmopolite'
Chapter Two
The Mother's Tongue: Seduction, Authenticity, and Interference in The Ambassadors
Chapter Three
Ezra Pound's American Scenes: Henry James and the Labour of Translation
Chapter Four
Pound and Translation: Ideogram and The Vulgar Tongue
Chapter Five
Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis, and the American Language
Chapter Six
Jack Spicer's After Lorca: Translation as Delocalization
Chapter Seven
Homecomings: The Poet's Prose of Ashbery, Schuyler and Spicer

About the Author

Daniel Katz is Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Saying I No More: Subjectivity and Consciousness in the Prose of Samuel Beckett, American Modernism’s Expatriate Scene: The Labour of Translation, and The Poetry of Jack Spicer.


Katz [has] a firm grasp of the current state of play in the academic study of modernism and of transatlantic cultural relations in North America. Both of these are currently expanding sub-fields where adventurous new work is being done, and where familiar curricula and syllabi are undergoing revision. Katz’s project will be right at home (to steal one of his ironic tropes) in this context. I found the material enormously impressive, and thoroughly engrossing.
- Brian McHale, Humanities Distinguished Professor in English, Ohio State University
Daniel Katz’s American Modernism’s Expatriate Scene breaks new methodological and interpretative ground in the study of American modernism. Through detailed, sophisticated readings of key writers such as Henry James, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Wyndham Lewis, Jack Spicer, John Ashbery, and James Schulyer, Katz reconceives American modernism as a tense, productive result of the many-sided 'interference' of languages and cultures in an international space. His book makes an important contribution to the study of American modernism and to recent modernist studies more generally.
- Tyrus Miller, Professor of Literature, University of California at Santa Cruz

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