Aesthetic Afterlives: Irony, Literary Modernity and the Ends of Beauty
By: Andrew Eastham (author)Paperback
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Since the development of British Aestheticism in the 1870s, the concept of irony has focused a series of anxieties which are integral to modern literary practice. Examining some of the most important debates in post-Romantic aesthetics through highly focused textual readings of authors from Walter Pater and Henry James to Samuel Beckett and Alan Hollinghurst, this study investigates the dialectical position of irony in Aestheticism and its twentieth-century afterlives. Aesthetic Afterlives constructs a far-reaching theoretical narrative by positioning Victorian Aestheticism as the basis of Literary Modernity. Aestheticism's cultivation of irony and reflexive detachment was central to this legacy, but it was also the focus of its own self-critique. Anxieties about the concept and practice of irony persisted through Modernism, and have recently been positioned in Hollinghurst's work as a symptom of the political stasis within post-modern culture.
Referring to the recent debates about the 'new aestheticism' and the politics of aesthetics, Eastham asks how a utopian Aestheticism can be reconstructed from the problematics of irony and aesthetic autonomy that haunted writers from Pater to Adorno.
Andrew Eastham is a Visiting Lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.
List of Abbreviations \ Introduction \ 1. Walter Pater's Acoustic Space: 'The School of Giorgione', Dionysian Anders-streben, and the Politics of Soundscape \ 2. Aesthetic Vampirism: The Concept of Irony in the Work of Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde and Vernon Lee \ 3. 'Master of Irony': Henry James, Transatlantic Bildung and the Critique of Aestheticism \ 4. Irony's Turn: The Redress of Aestheticism in Katherine Mansfield's Notebooks and Stories \ 5. Sacrificing Aestheticism: The Dialectic of Modernity and the Ends of Beauty in D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow and Women in Love \ 6. Aristocracies of Mourning: The Reconsecration of Aestheticism in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited \ 7. Sublime Ironies: The Remainders of Romanticism in Samuel Beckett's Trilogy and Krapp's Last Tape \ 8. Inoperative Ironies: Jamesian Aestheticism and Post-modern Culture in Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty \ 9. The Aesthetic Afterlives of Mr W.P. : Reanimating Pater in Twenty-first-Century Fiction \ Notes \ Works Cited \ Index
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- ID: 9781472512109
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