Ryerson University

 

The intellectual maelstrom of European Modernism spans a wide and turbulent diversity of thoughts from revolutionary Socialism to psychoanalysis, suffrage, quantum physics and fascism. Evoking William Butler Yeats’s famous line from his 1919 poem “The Second Coming,” – wherein “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold, /Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” – Irene Gammel and Cathy Waszczuk argue that the constant within these widely divergent currents is a deeply felt vortex of crisis: a persistent sense of bouleversement and sweeping change with the past that enabled a “remarkable level of philosophical, intellectual, ideological, scientific, technological, political, and aesthetic development.” Published in Routledge’s massive new volume The Modernist World, the essay entitled “‘A rare moment of crisis’: Intellectual Currents of Modernism in Europe” also notes the paradoxes of this process, as when Europe celebrated the success of consumer capitalism in immense World Expositions as well as ushered in the Communist system in the Soviet Republic; or when key intellectual currents of the period maliciously twisted together into anti-Semitic thought that fed into the end of European modernism with the horrifying decimation of the European Jewish population under Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.

Part of a large-scale effort to reconfigure modernism within the world, the essay is representative of the distinctly diverse and global approach that characterizes the entire anthology. Edited by Stephen Ross and Allana C. Lindgren, the volume’s 61 essays explore modernism in eight different parts of the world, including Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and the Arab World, Canada and the United States. Also included is the essay of MLC research associate Rahul Sapra, whose chapter “Modernism and film in South Asia: an Indian perspective” examines the modernist mainstream Hindu/Urdu film industry based in Bombay to show how cinema is used to rewrite religion, as well as considers the Indian Parallel Cinema movement and modernist Sri Lankan cinema. Collectively, by putting the focus on modernism’s plurality and diversity, these studies are involved in redrawing the boundaries of modernism to advance a global modernism studies.

A Rare Moment in Crisis:

Recent News

Avantgarde Artist Mina Loy

Avantgarde Artist Mina Loy

Mina Loy is a bold avant-garde poet and visual artist. Her work is being recognized with a 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

Natalie Laplaine-Small joins MLC

Natalie Laplaine-Small joins MLC

At the MLC Research Centre Natalie Laplaine-Small provides research administration support for the Director, Dr. Irene Gammel, and her team ...

Jenna McClelland joins MLC

Jenna McClelland joins MLC

An MA student in Ryerson’s Literatures of Modernity Programme (2016-2017), Jenna McClelland specializes in the study of punk ...

Kailey Havelock joins MLC

Kailey Havelock joins MLC

A SSHRC-funded MA student in the Literatures of Modernity program at Ryerson University (2016-2017), Kailey Havelock holds an Honours BA in ...

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

MLC Themes

The Great War in Literature and Visual Culture

Amid the unprecedented social change of World War I, women renegotiated their identities by dramatically changing the way they engaged with the arts. But how did they do so? And how did everyday citizens engage with the war?

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

MLC Themes

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, considered by many to be the mother of Dada, was a daringly innovative poet and an early creator of junk sculpture. “The Baroness” was best known for her sexually charged, often controversial performances.

Modernism in the World

MLC Themes

Modernism in the World

Recent research has departed from the Euro-centric and national view of Modernism to include approaches and methods studying Modernism across national boundaries and across different art forms to include fashion, dance, performance, technology, and visual culture.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

MLC Themes

Lucy Maud Montgomery

L.M. Montgomery is perhaps Canada's most important literary export. She was prolific writer of over 500 short stories and poems, and twenty novels, including the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Canadian Modernism

MLC Themes

Canadian Modernism

The works of numerous Canadian authors who lived during the modernist era may well constitute the most central and experimental articulation of Canadian modernism in prose, allowing authors to stage cross-cultural, controversial, and even conflicted identities.

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

MLC Themes

Modernist Biography and Life Writing

Life writing, including autobiographical accounts, diaries, letters and testimonials written or told by women and men whose political, literary or philosophical purposes are central to their lives, has become a standard tool for communication and the dissemination of information.