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The Asymmetry of British Modernism: Hugh MacDiarmid and Wyndham Lewis

The Asymmetry of British Modernism: Hugh MacDiarmid and Wyndham Lewis Alex Thomson Devolution in the United Kingdom has begun to affect our understanding of modern literary history, if only because the tendency silently to conflate English with British has been made increasingly problematic. This is particularly marked in the case of Scotland. Critics and historians of Scottish literature have asserted the continuity of a different tradition north of the border. Scholars writing on English literature take pains not to make generalisations that seem to apply to the other country. But while this may represent appropriate caution in asking how contemporary British literature is constituted in the context of the process of political devolution, or in relation to the Romantic period, when Edinburgh could boast both a distinctive intellectual tradition and a thriving publishing industry, it may be more problematic in relation to the period we describe as `modernist'. The increased presence of the national question in the study of modernist literature, and the development of transnational approaches to literary study, also foreground the tacit assumptions that may have guided earlier accounts of tradition.1 But does our caution lead us to overstate cultural and artistic difference? In this essay I will reflect on this problem by examining the relationship http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

The Asymmetry of British Modernism: Hugh MacDiarmid and Wyndham Lewis

Modernist Cultures , Volume 8 (2): 252 – Oct 1, 2013

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2013
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2013.0064
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Alex Thomson Devolution in the United Kingdom has begun to affect our understanding of modern literary history, if only because the tendency silently to conflate English with British has been made increasingly problematic. This is particularly marked in the case of Scotland. Critics and historians of Scottish literature have asserted the continuity of a different tradition north of the border. Scholars writing on English literature take pains not to make generalisations that seem to apply to the other country. But while this may represent appropriate caution in asking how contemporary British literature is constituted in the context of the process of political devolution, or in relation to the Romantic period, when Edinburgh could boast both a distinctive intellectual tradition and a thriving publishing industry, it may be more problematic in relation to the period we describe as `modernist'. The increased presence of the national question in the study of modernist literature, and the development of transnational approaches to literary study, also foreground the tacit assumptions that may have guided earlier accounts of tradition.1 But does our caution lead us to overstate cultural and artistic difference? In this essay I will reflect on this problem by examining the relationship

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2013

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