Modernism and Phenomenology: Literature, Philosophy, Art

October 30, 2020
Modernism and Phenomenology: Literature, Philosophy, Art

Braiding together strands of literary, phenomenological and arthistorical reflection, Modernism and Phenomenology explores theways in which modernist writers and artists return us to wonderbefore the world. Taking such wonder as the motive forphenomenology itself, and challenging extant views of modernismthat uphold a mind-world opposition rooted in Cartesian thought,the book considers the work of modernists who, far from presentingperfect, finished models for life and the self, embrace raw andsemi-chaotic experience. Close readings of works by Paul Cézanne,Gertrude Stein, Franz Kafka, Gerard Manley Hopkins, WallaceStevens, Paul Klee, and Virginia Woolf explore how modernist textsand artworks display a deep-rooted openness to the world that turnsus into "perpetual beginners." Pushing back against ideas ofmodernism as fragmentation or groundlessness, Mildenberg arguesthat this openness is less a sign of powerlessness and deferredmeaning than of the very provisionality of experience.