Modernist Goods: Primitivism, the Market and the Gift

By Glenn Willmott

© 2008

The politicised interpretation of literature has relied on models of economic and social structures that oscillate between idealized subversion and market fatalism. Current anthropological discussions of mixed gift and commodity economies and the segmented politics of house societies offer solutions to this problem and suggest invaluable new directions for literary studies. Modernist Goods uses recent discussions of gift and house practices to counter an influential revisionist trend in modernist studies, a trend that sees the capitalist marketplace and its public sphere as the uniquely determining institutional structures in modern arts and culture.

Glenn Willmott argues that a political unconscious forged by the widespread marginalisation of pre-capitalist institutions comes to the fore in modernist primitivism. Such primitivism, he insists, is not superficially exoticist or simply appropriative of the cultural heritage of others. Rather, it is at once parodic and authentic, and often, in the language of Julia Kristeva, abject. Modernist Goods examines such writers as Yeats, Conrad, Eliot, Woolf, Beckett, H.D., and Joyce to uncover what the author views as their displaced aboriginality and to investigate the relationship between literary modernism and aboriginal modernity. By bringing current anthropological developments to literary studies, it aims to rethink the economic commitments of modernist literature and their political significance.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP002638

  • PUBLISHED JUL 2008

    From: $60.75

    Regular Price: $81.00

    ISBN 9780802097699
  • PUBLISHED DEC 2008

    From: $70.50

    Regular Price: $94.00

Quick Overview

Modernist Goods examines such writers as Yeats, Conrad, Eliot, Woolf, Beckett, H.D., and Joyce to uncover what the author views as their displaced aboriginality and to investigate the relationship between literary modernism and aboriginal modernity.

Modernist Goods: Primitivism, the Market and the Gift

By Glenn Willmott

© 2008

The politicised interpretation of literature has relied on models of economic and social structures that oscillate between idealized subversion and market fatalism. Current anthropological discussions of mixed gift and commodity economies and the segmented politics of house societies offer solutions to this problem and suggest invaluable new directions for literary studies. Modernist Goods uses recent discussions of gift and house practices to counter an influential revisionist trend in modernist studies, a trend that sees the capitalist marketplace and its public sphere as the uniquely determining institutional structures in modern arts and culture.

Glenn Willmott argues that a political unconscious forged by the widespread marginalisation of pre-capitalist institutions comes to the fore in modernist primitivism. Such primitivism, he insists, is not superficially exoticist or simply appropriative of the cultural heritage of others. Rather, it is at once parodic and authentic, and often, in the language of Julia Kristeva, abject. Modernist Goods examines such writers as Yeats, Conrad, Eliot, Woolf, Beckett, H.D., and Joyce to uncover what the author views as their displaced aboriginality and to investigate the relationship between literary modernism and aboriginal modernity. By bringing current anthropological developments to literary studies, it aims to rethink the economic commitments of modernist literature and their political significance.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
  • Author Information

    Glenn Willmott is a professor in the Department of English at Queen's University.

By the Same Author(s)

Related Titles