Modernism and the Culture of Efficiency: Ideology and Fiction

Evelyn Cobley

© 2009

Modernism and the Culture of Efficiency engages with the idea of efficiency as it emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century. Evelyn Cobley's close readings of modernist British fiction by writers as diverse as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Conrad, and E.M. Forster identify characters whose attitudes and behaviour patterns indirectly manifest cultural anxieties that can be traced to the conflicted logic of efficiency.

Revisiting the principles of work developed by Henry Ford and F.W. Taylor, Cobley draws out the broader social, political, cultural, and psychological implications of the assembly line and the efficiency expert's stopwatch. The pursuit of efficiency, she argues, was the often unintentional impetus for the development of social control mechanisms that gradually infiltrated the consciousness of individuals and eventually suffused the fabric of society. Evelyn Cobley's sophisticated analysis is the first step in understanding an ideology that has received little attention from literary critics despite its broad sociocultural implications.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.2in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP002906

  • PUBLISHED AUG 2009

    From: $59.25

    Regular Price: $79.00

    ISBN 9780802099570
  • PUBLISHED DEC 2009

    From: $67.50

    Regular Price: $90.00

Quick Overview

Cobley's close readings of modernist British fiction by writers as diverse as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Conrad, and E.M. Forster identify characters whose attitudes and behaviour patterns indirectly manifest cultural anxieties that can be traced to the conflicted logic of efficiency.

Modernism and the Culture of Efficiency: Ideology and Fiction

Evelyn Cobley

© 2009

Modernism and the Culture of Efficiency engages with the idea of efficiency as it emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century. Evelyn Cobley's close readings of modernist British fiction by writers as diverse as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Conrad, and E.M. Forster identify characters whose attitudes and behaviour patterns indirectly manifest cultural anxieties that can be traced to the conflicted logic of efficiency.

Revisiting the principles of work developed by Henry Ford and F.W. Taylor, Cobley draws out the broader social, political, cultural, and psychological implications of the assembly line and the efficiency expert's stopwatch. The pursuit of efficiency, she argues, was the often unintentional impetus for the development of social control mechanisms that gradually infiltrated the consciousness of individuals and eventually suffused the fabric of society. Evelyn Cobley's sophisticated analysis is the first step in understanding an ideology that has received little attention from literary critics despite its broad sociocultural implications.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.2in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘This intriguing study will certainly shape the way I read early-twentieth century fiction… I look forward to incorporating Cobley’s insights into my own teaching of the modernist novel, since the cultural aspects of her interpretation should be particularly relevant to student’s everyday experiences in the postmodern world.’
    Molly Youngkin
    English Literature in Transition vol 54:01:11
  • Author Information

    Evelyn Cobley is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria.

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