What Became of Modernism?
Why did modernism skip England? One academic asks why a people so close to the Second World War cling to their outmoded literary traditions while the world around them has progressed. "Modernism, as [Gabriel ] Josipovici understands, doesn't mend things—but it is honest about the unmendability. Modernism rejects the 'bad faith' of Romanticism and Realism—the two great movements on which traditional English literature and art rest. Modernism is cosmically 'disenchanted'. But it is not frightened to look, even if what it looks at is as paralysing as Medusa's head. Josipovici takes as axiomatic Beckett's proclamation that the Modernist writer has 'nothing with which to express, nothing from which to express, no desire to express, together with the obligation to express.' It is despairing but brave—and, more importantly, true to the human condition."