Five Faces of Modernity is a series of semantic and cultural biographies of words that have taken on special significance in the last century and a half or so: modernity, avant-garde, decadence, kitsch, and postmodernism. The concept of modernity-the notion that we, the living, are different and somehow superior to our predecessors and that our civilization is likely to be succeeded by one even superior to ours-is a relatively recent Western invention and one whose time may already have passed, if we believe its postmodern challengers. Calinescu documents the rise of cultural modernity and, in tracing the shifting senses of the five terms under scrutiny, illustrates the intricate value judgments, conflicting orientations, and intellectual paradoxes to which it has given rise.
Five Faces of Modernity attempts to do for the foundations of the modernist critical lexicon what earlier terminological studies have done for such complex categories as classicism, baroque, romanticism, realism, or symbolism and thereby fill a gap in literary scholarship. On another, more ambitious level, Calinescu deals at length with the larger issues, dilemmas, ideological tensions, and perplexities brought about by the assertion of modernity.
Preface to the Second Edition xi Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 3 The Idea of Modernity Modern Dwarfs on the Shoulders of Ancient Giants 13 The Problem of Time: Three Eras of Western History 19 It Is We Who Are the Ancients 23 Comparing the Moderns to the Ancients 26 From Modern to Gothic to Romantic to Modern 35 The Two Modernities 41 Baudelaire and the Paradoxes of Aesthetic Modernity 46 Modernity, the Death of God, and Utopia 58 Literary and Other Modernisms 68 Comparing the Moderns to the Contemporaries 86 The Idea of the Avant-Garde From Modernity to the Avant-Garde 95 The "Avant-Garde" Metaphor in the Renaissance: A Rhetorical Figure 97 The Romantic "Avant-Garde": From Politics to the Politics of Culture 100 Some Mid-Nineteenth-Century Writers and the Avant-Garde 108 Two Avant-Gardes: Attractions and Repulsions 112 Avant-Garde and Aesthetic Extremism 116 The Crisis of Avant-Garde's Concept in the 1960s 120 Avant-Garde, Dehumanization, and the End of Ideology 125 Avant-Garde and Postmodernism 132 Intellectualism, Anarchism, and Stasis 144 The Idea of Decadence Versions of Decadence 151 From "Decadence" to "Style of Decadence" 157 The Decadent Euphoria 171 Nietzsche on "Decadence" and "Modernity" 178 The Concept of Decadence in Marxist Criticism 195 Il Decadentismo 211 Kitsch Kitsch and Modernity 225 Kitsch, Camp, and High Art 229 Etymology, Contexts of Usage, and the "Law of Aesthetic Inadequacy" 232 Kitsch and Romanticism 237 Bad Taste, Ideology, and Hedonism 240 Some Stylistic Considerations 249 Kitsch and Cultural Industrialization 255 The "Kitsch-Man" 259 On Postmodernism (1986) A New Face of Modernity 265 Epistemology and Hermeneutics: From Modernity to Postmodernity 269 The Silence of the Avant-Garde 275 The Novelty of the Past: The View from Architecture 279 Critiques of Postmodernism 288 Literary Postmodernism: The Shaping of a Corpus 296 Postmodernist Devices and Their Significance 302 Notes 313 Selected Critical Bibliography 365 Index 387