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Outlaws and Misfits: The Identities of Modernist Criticism

Outlaws and Misfits: The Identities of Modernist Criticism The images of the writer as exile and outlaw were central to modernism's cultural positioning. As the Scrutiny circle's ‘literary criticism’ became the dominant way of reading in the University English departments and then in the grammar-schools, it took over these outsider images as models for the apprentice-critic. English pedagogy offered students not only an approach to texts, but an implicit identity and affective stance, which combined alert resistance to the pervasive effects of mechanised society with a rhetoric of emotional ‘maturity’, belied by a chilly judgementalism and gender anxiety. In exchanges over the close reading of intransigent, difficult texts, criticism's seminars sought a stimulus to develop the emotional autonomy of its participants against the ‘stock response’ promulgated by industrial capitalism. But refusal to reflect on its own method meant such pedagogy remained unconscious of the imitative pressures that its own reading was placing on its participants. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Outlaws and Misfits: The Identities of Modernist Criticism

Modernist Cultures , Volume 14 (3): 20 – Aug 1, 2019

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2019.0259
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The images of the writer as exile and outlaw were central to modernism's cultural positioning. As the Scrutiny circle's ‘literary criticism’ became the dominant way of reading in the University English departments and then in the grammar-schools, it took over these outsider images as models for the apprentice-critic. English pedagogy offered students not only an approach to texts, but an implicit identity and affective stance, which combined alert resistance to the pervasive effects of mechanised society with a rhetoric of emotional ‘maturity’, belied by a chilly judgementalism and gender anxiety. In exchanges over the close reading of intransigent, difficult texts, criticism's seminars sought a stimulus to develop the emotional autonomy of its participants against the ‘stock response’ promulgated by industrial capitalism. But refusal to reflect on its own method meant such pedagogy remained unconscious of the imitative pressures that its own reading was placing on its participants.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Aug 1, 2019

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