MODERNISM AND NATURALIZATION
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MODERNISM AND NATURALIZATION book
Modernist writing explores the limits of the double pattern. The poles of this pattern can be represented in two columns:
Imbalances between these poles occur in pre-modernist writing: the eighteenth-century novel struggled to incorporate functional, non-literary styles within a single generic structure; Romantic poetics deliberately unsettled a routine and familiar balance between the conventional and cognitive registers. Modernism, however, involves much more radical shifts towards the left-or right-hand columns and unprecedented combinations of the two. Sometimes the entire text will foreground the right-hand column and minimize the interference of the left. This is most common in the early free verse of the Imagists and I shall use William Carlos Williams’s ‘Spring and All’ as an example. Less frequently an entire text will reverse this imbalance and maintain a self-conscious allegiance to the left-hand column. Joyce’s Finnegans Wake (1939) is the archetype of this method. More frequent is the text which consistently unsettles any clear relationship between the two poles. T.S.Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock’ mixes
conventional poetic devices with linguistic patterns that have more in common with interior monologue than with poetry. Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) mixes non-literary styles with familiar and innovative literary models.