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In Modernist Fiction, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Community, Jessica Berman argues that the fiction of Henry James, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein engages directly with early twentieth-century transformations of community and cosmopolitanism. Although these modernist writers develop radically different models for social organization, their writings return again and again to issues of commonality, shared voice, and exchange of experience, particularly in relation to dominant discourses of gender and nationality. The writings of James, Proust, Woolf, and Stein, she argues, not only inscribe early twentieth-century anxieties about race, ethnicity, nationality and gender, but confront them with demands for modern, cosmopolitan versions of community. This study seeks to revise theories of community and cosmopolitanism in light of their construction in narrative, and in particular it seeks to reveal the ways that modernist fiction can provide meaningful alternative models of community.
'A splendid achievement! Berman's argument (?)0; is wholly persuasive. This elegantly written book forces a trenchant rethinking of the underlying social impulses of modernism as a whole.' Laura Doyle, author of Bordering on the Body
'In this substantial, genuinely interdisciplinary and original book, Berman enters important discussions currently re-mapping modernist studies and makes a significant contribution to women's studies. Most notably, she gives us definitions of community that incorporate the private, the domestic, and the lost contributions of small specialized groups.' Bonnie Kime Scott, author of Refiguring Modernism
Table of contents:
Acknowledgments; Part I. Cosmopolitan Communities; Part II. Henry James: 1. 'The History of the Voice': Cosmopolitan's America; 2. Feminizing the nation: woman as cultural icon in late James; Part III. Marcel Proust: 3. Proust, Bernard Lazare and the politics of pariahdom; 4. The community, the prophet and the pariah: relation in A la recherche du temps perdu; Part IV. Virginia Woolf: 5. 'Splinter' and 'mosaic': towards the politics of connection; 6. Of oceans and opposition: the action of The Waves; Part V. Gertrude Stein: 7. Steinian topographies: the making of America; 8. Writing the 'I' that is 'they': Gertrude Stein's community of the subject; Part VI. Conclusion; Notes; Index.