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Afterlives of Modernism
Liberalism, Transnationalism, and Political Critique
John Carlos Rowe



Re-Mapping the Transnational: A Dartmouth Series in American Studies

Dartmouth College Press
2011 • 224 pp. 6 x 9"
Literary Criticism / American Studies

$35.00 Paperback, 978-1-58465-996-9
$85.00 Hardcover, 978-1-58465-995-2

(Cloth edition is un-jacketed.
Cover illustration is for paperback edition only)



“A bold and artful analysis, Afterlives of Modernism asks readers to consider the political beliefs that shape the American canon. . . . Highly recommended.” Choice

A defense of liberalism in modernist and contemporary American writers

In times of liberal despair it helps to have someone like John Carlos Rowe put things into perspective, in this case, with a collection of essays that asks the question, “Must we throw out liberalism’s successes with the neoliberal bathwater?” Rowe first lays out a genealogy of early twentieth-century modernists, such as Gertrude Stein, John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, with an eye toward stressing their transnationally engaged liberalism and their efforts to introduce into the literary avant-garde the concerns of politically marginalized groups, whether defined by race, class, or gender. The second part of the volume includes essays on the works of Harper Lee, Thomas Berger, Louise Erdrich, and Philip Roth, emphasizing the continuity of efforts to represent domestic political and social concerns. While critical of the increasingly conservative tone of the neoliberalism of the past quarter-century, Rowe rescues the value of liberalism’s sympathetic and socially engaged intent, even as he criticizes modern liberalism’s inability to work transnationally.

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Reviews:

“Recasting our sense of ethnicity in terms allocated from literary modernism, Rowe’s book perceptively focuses on liberalism, understood in terms of a belief in individual liberty for all and its concomitant claims for greater social justice, as a political philosophy at the heart of both multicultural US literature and the defense of more ‘traditional’ literary canons.”—American Quarterly

Endorsements:

“On occasion we are introduced to a scholar whose work gives new meaning to engaging texts, theoretical traditions, and ideologies through both a discourse of critique and a language of possibility. But rarely do we come across an author who also gives us a glimpse into the power of imagination and the gravity of its connection to cultural politics. In his inventive and brilliant rendering of the strengths and weaknesses of the liberal imagination, John Carlos Rowe has given us a book of incredible insight and intelligence. In his hands, literary critique, politics, and culture provide a new language, if not original way of imagining and reading canonical liberal texts. At the same time, he exemplifies in a masterful poetic style an understanding what it means to engage such texts a form of moral and political witnessing, a complex rendering that recognizes their strengths while learning from their limitations. This is a marvelous book and should be read by everyone who believes that criticism, politics, if not democracy itself still matter.”—Henry Giroux, Global TV Network Chair Professor, McMaster University, and author of Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism



JOHN CARLOS ROWE is USC Associates’ Professor of the Humanities and Chair of the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is the author of numerous books, including The New American Studies, as well as over a hundred scholarly essays and critical reviews.






Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:58:36 -0500