Race and the modernist aesthetic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter begins with the relation between race and the modernist aesthetic by making two general statements: first, no student of literature and the arts can ignore the fact that the modernist movement in literature, and second, the arts was one of the most important phenomena in the changing nature and function of culture in the twentieth century. Race enters modernism, first and foremost, in the form of the primitive. Indeed, there is enough documentation to show that almost every major modern writer, painter and theorist posited the exotic and the primitive as an alternative to the Western industrial culture many of them were revolting against. The new discipline of psychology attracted almost every major modern writer because it provided both what seemed to be a compelling diagnosis of the problems of modern industrial culture and a mode of cognition which, by privileging the unconscious and irrational aspects of experience, posited an alternative to the rationality of modernity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWriting and Race
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315505008
ISBN (Print)9780582273757
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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