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Modernism and Close Reading ed. by David James (review)
James Joyce Quarterly Pub Date : 2021-06-10
Jolanta Wawrzycka

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  • Modernism and Close Reading ed. by David James
  • Jolanta Wawrzycka (bio)
MODERNISM AND CLOSE READING, edited by David James. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020. 246 pp. $70.00 hardcover, ebook.

Modernism and Close Reading, edited by David James, surveys the early- and mid-twentieth-century developments in literary criticism. It focuses on the history of close reading, with the goal to gain "some sense of its futurity" at the moment of growth of modernist scholarship (1) and to provide an incentive to examine a variety of contexts—conceptual, historical, and institutional—for critical urgencies as they present themselves in the global context of modernist studies (2). The collection is highly serviceable for all academics not only as a handy refresher—or a primer for what some literature departments might have removed from their curricula—but also for its invaluable look into the very recent developments in the discipline. [End Page 382] So, in the spirit of service, I offer an overview of all chapters, eschewing choosing one over the other out of my deep respect for the travails of editorship. And James has done a remarkable job in conceiving and designing the collection, and in recruiting diverse contributors, "brilliant, imaginative scholars" (v), whose virtuosity as critics makes for a truly gratifying read.

Five chapters in Part I of the volume, "Histories of Modernism and Close Reading," survey close reading practices and, in a way, re-canonize the canonized. Chapter 1, "Modernist Close Reading" by Max Saunders, and chapter 2, "Close Reading as Performance" by Peter Howarth, revisit close reading as a product of modernism central to the 1920s Cambridge Practical Criticism and to its subsequent outgrowth, the American New Criticism. The authors study the impact of I. R. Richards, C. K. Ogden, William Empson, Laura Riding, Robert Graves, and the New Critics.1 Saunders, by signaling a particular type of close reading—Ford Madox Ford's parodistic recreation of W. B. Yeats's "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"2—points to its affinities with translation, especially as practiced by Ezra Pound (25-27). His overview of "distant reading," "surface reading," and "symptomatic reading" closes the chapter (37-44). Now Howarth, as his title announces, sees close reading in terms of an event, a performance. As one of many developments in the "social construction of literary value" (46), close reading sparked turf wars in literature departments (46-47). Drawing on works of Annette Federico, Stephen Greenblatt, and Paul B. Armstrong, for whom readers' subjectivity and their historical positioning compete in the reading process (65-68),3 Howarth concludes that close reading should become useful to the historicist project once "it is understood in its modernist context as a performance" (68).

Rachel Sagner Buurma's and Laura Heffernan's chapter 3, "Poetry Explication: The Making of a Method," discusses Poetry Explication: A Checklist of Interpretation Since 1925 of British and American Poems Past and Present.4 The Checklist offers insight into "the construction of the myth of close reading's dominance" (72) and into the mid-century literary scholarship's reliance on close-reading practices that, eclipsing other methodologies, modeled how to explicate the autonomous poem. But the authors conclude that, rather than the poem, the methodology made "explications autonomous" (84). A different approach to close reading would be to rely more on "an attention to attention" and less on "narratives of eclipse or supersession" (85).

Joseph Brooker tackles Joycean criticism in chapter 4, "Slow Revelations: James Joyce and the Rhetorics of Reading," by closely reading Hugh Kenner's and Fritz Senn's close readings of Joyce.5 Brooker's insightful premise—that "what we think of as close reading, when communicated to us, also implies a practice of writing" [End Page 383] (86)—feeds well into his analyses of the two critics' distinctive approaches, marked by unique styles of their criticism (89-103). Moving on to such other modes of close reading as Katherine Mullin's and Margot Norris's historicizing readings of "Eveline" (103-05),6 and Luca Crispi's and Finn Fordham's genetic approaches to Joyce's text (105-110),7 Brooker shows that historicists and genetic scholars expand our understanding of close reading vis-à-vis...





  • 现代主义与细读编辑。大卫·詹姆斯
  • 乔兰塔·瓦兹卡(生物)
现代主义和近距离阅读,由大卫詹姆斯编辑。牛津:牛津大学出版社,2020 年。246 页。精装,电子书,70.00 美元。

现代主义和近距离阅读,由大卫詹姆斯编辑,调查了 20 世纪早期和中期文学批评的发展。它侧重于细读的历史,目标是在现代主义学术发展的那一刻获得“某种意义上的未来感” (1) 并提供一种激励来检查各种背景——概念、历史和制度——对于在现代主义研究的全球背景下呈现出来的批判的紧迫性(2)。该合集对所有学者都非常有用,不仅可以作为方便的复习资料(或一些文学系可能已从其课程中删除的内容的入门书),而且还可以作为对该学科最新发展的宝贵研究。[第382页结束]因此,本着服务精神,我对所有章节进行了概述,出于对编辑工作艰辛的深切敬意,我避免选择其中一章。詹姆斯在构思和设计该系列以及招募不同的贡献者方面做得非常出色,“才华横溢,富有想象力的学者”(v),他们作为评论家的精湛技艺使阅读真正令人满意。

该卷第一部分的五章,“现代主义和细读的历史”,调查细读实践,并在某种程度上重新经典化。Max Saunders 的第 1 章“现代主义细读”和 Peter Howarth 的第 2 章“作为表演的细读”,重新审视细读是 1920 年代剑桥实践批评及其随后的产物美国新批评的核心现代主义的产物。批评。作者研究了 IR Richards、CK Ogden、William Empson、Laura Riding、Robert Graves 和新批评家的影响。1 Saunders,通过发出一种特殊类型的仔细阅读信号——福特马多克斯福特对 WB Yeats 的“The Lake Isle of Innisfree”的模仿再现2——指出它与翻译的密切关系,尤其是埃兹拉·庞德 (Ezra Pound) (25-27) 所实践的。他对“远程阅读”、“表面阅读”和“症状阅读”的概述结束了这一章(37-44)。现在霍华斯,正如他的标题所宣布的那样,从一个事件、一场表演的角度来看仔细阅读。作为“文学价值的社会建构”的众多发展之一(46),细读引发了文学系的地盘争夺战(46-47)。借鉴 Annette Federico、Stephen Greenblatt 和 Paul B. Armstrong 的作品,对于他们而言,读者的主观性和他们的历史定位在阅读过程中相互竞争 (65-68),3 Howarth 得出结论,仔细阅读一旦对历史主义项目有用“它在现代主义语境中被理解为一种表演”

Rachel Sagner Buurma 和 Laura Heffernan 的第 3 章“诗歌阐释:方法的制定”讨论了诗歌阐释:自 1925 年以来英国和美国诗歌过去和现在的解释清单4清单提供洞察“细读的霸主地位的神话建设”(72),进入本世纪中叶文学研究的上,食等方法,模型如何阐明自主诗近距离阅读行为的依赖。但作者得出的结论是,该方法论使“解释自主” ,而不是诗歌(84)。仔细阅读的另一种方法是更多地依赖“注意力集中”而不是“

约瑟夫·布鲁克通过仔细阅读休·肯纳和弗里茨·森对乔伊斯的仔细阅读,在第 4 章“缓慢的启示:詹姆斯·乔伊斯和阅读的修辞学”中解决了乔伊斯的批评。5布鲁克富有洞察力的前提——“我们认为的细读,当传达给我们时,也意味着一种写作实践” [第 383 页] (86)——很好地融入了他对两位评论家独特方法的分析,标记为通过他们独特的批评风格(89-103)。继续深入阅读其他模式,如凯瑟琳·穆林 (Katherine Mullin) 和玛格特·诺里斯 (Margot Norris) 对“伊芙琳”(103-05)、6以及卢卡·克里斯皮 (Luca Crispi) 和芬恩·福特汉 ( Finn Fordham) 对乔伊斯 (Joyce) 的遗传方法的历史化解读。 布鲁克表明,历史学家和遗传学者扩大了我们对细读相对于……的理解。