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Transatlantic Avant-Gardes

Little Magazines and Localist Modernism

Eric B White

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Provides an alternative account of the modernist transatlantic

Transatlantic Avant-Gardes offers a revisionary account of the evolution of twentieth-century modernism. Complimenting recent studies of modernist expatriates, Eric White explores new points of contact between European and American avant-gardes to place ‘located’ figures such as William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, Jean Toomer, and Alfred Kreymborg back into the 'global design' of literary modernism. Focusing on artist-run 'little magazines' (including Others, Contact, The Little Review, Blast, The Dial, Fire!!, and Pagany) and selected fine press publications and mainstream periodicals, White also reconsiders the boundaries that traditionally divide modernist literature into 'exile' and 'localist', or 'regionalist' and 'cosmopolitan', factions. Thus, the book proposes a version of localist modernism that prioritises issues of geographic and textual 'location' to deliver a 'networked' approach to American modernism in the transatlantic context. Combining literary-historical, textual, and cultural criticism, Transatlantic Avant-Gardes provides a new reading of the specialised literary networks that interrogated the relationship between geographic place, textual space and national identity in the modernist transatlantic.

Key Features:

  • Provides a new account of the literary avant-gardes that questioned the relationship between geographic place, textual space and national identity
  • Complements modernist studies of American expatriates
  • Combines literary-historical, textual, and cultural criticism to deliver a ‘networked’ reading of American modernism in the transatlantic context
  • Proposes a version of ‘localist modernism’ that prioritises issues of geographic and textual ‘location’ in transnational literary studies

About the Author

Eric White is Senior Lecturer in American Literature at Oxford Brookes University. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Eric White completed his doctoral studies at Darwin College and Clare College in the University of Cambridge. He has previously held fellowships at the Beinecke Library, Yale University, the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh, and the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.

Reviews

A comprehensive and rewarding study of the contents, graphics, and marketing of the influential little magazines at the center of the localist and transatlantic incarnations of modernism. The study does full justice to the range and—as White shows, complexly interdependent-- personal, political and aesthetic agendas behind their origins and editorial agendas.

- Christopher MacGowan, College of William and Mary
White’s rich archive of evidence drawn from transatlantic little magazines will prove extremely valuable to both modernist and American periodical studies.
- Melissa Girard, Loyola University Maryland, American Periodicals, 26(1)

[T]he sensitive research, reader-attuned writing style, and scholarly precision with which White tackles a vast subject [offers] a synoptic overview of the tangled networks of periodical production while carefully deconstructing the paradigms affiliated to them. The result is a comprehensive, probing study whose far-reaching conclusions destabilize the familiar tropes of ‘space’, ‘place’, and ‘identity’, and pave the way for more materialist, multi-disciplinary methodological approaches to the little magazines that, as White states, ‘helped consolidate the modernist canon’ (209).

- Louise Kane, University of Birmingham, The Journal of Wyndham Lewis Studies (2014)

The major monograph on little magazine networks for 2013 is undoubtedly Eric B. White’s excellent Transatlantic Avant-Gardes: Little Magazines and Localist Modernism. [...] In a year with extraordinary work on the little magazines, White’s project stands out for its attention to the complex regionalism that circles back to transnational migrations and distribution networks that both nourish the little magazines’ bigness in New Modernist studies and attend to their deus loci, or said differently (to quote Williams), to ‘re-awakened genius of place’ (p. 207).

- James Clifford, Farleigh Dickinson Univeristy, et. al., The Years Work in English Studies (2015)

This brilliantly written monograph offers a stimulating study of the transatlantic movement of little magazines produced throughout the modernist period and expertly chronicles the dynamic collaborations that formed and reformed the avant-garde in multiple transatlantic locations. [...] [A] thorough reading and re-reading of his book will aide a greater appreciation and keener understanding of the collaborative network that infused transnational modernism. It’s an essential volume for any modernist scholar and will prove an invaluable resource for undergraduate and graduate students studying the literary avant-gardes.

- Paul R. Cappucci, Georgian Court University, William Carlos Williams Review 31.1 (Spring 2014)

Important and far-reaching.

- Alexander Howard, University of Sussex, Textual Practice

In bringing American modernism back home, and exposing the cosmopolitan contours of modernism in the American grain, Eric White makes an important intervention into contemporary scholarship. Transatlantic Avant-Gardes is required reading for scholars of American modernism and its material culture.

- LEE M. JENKINS, University College Cork, Notes and Queries, Vol. 61, no 2

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