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date: 22 March 2018

1922: The Annus Mirabilis of Literary Modernism

Summary and Keywords

The year 1922 has been known as the annus mirabilis (“miracle year”) of Anglo-American literary modernism, chiefly because of the near-simultaneous publication of T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” James Joyce’s Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room. The distinctive historical character of 1922 remains an ongoing concern: the year was at once a time of traumatic memory of World War I and a moment of renewed ambition for the radical experiments of modernism. During the war, Eliot, Joyce, and Woolf had enjoyed an unusual opportunity to revise and extend their aesthetic ambitions. Each of their works registers the more defiant provocation of postwar literature, but each confronts the powerful resistance of cultural and political authorities who saw the efforts, especially of Eliot and Joyce, as both meaningless and dangerous. The postwar period also saw the rapid expansion of new technologies (especially in transport and telecommunications) and a consumer society keen to enjoy the availability of freshly circulating material goods. D. H. Lawrence described the end of war as both a relief and a menace. This double valence captures the contrast between searing memories of battlefield death and anticipation of pleasure and plenitude in the Jazz Age. The central figures in this entry are at once newly confident in the adversarial mission of modernism and fully aware of the social complacency and cultural conservatism arrayed against them. The immediate felt disturbance of these works came through their formal challenge, in particular through the intersecting uses of many-voiced and multi-perspectival montage, an assemblage of fragmentary views, and a diversity of speaking tones. This conspicuous technique appears in closely related terms within the early films of Dziga Vertov and the postwar philosophy of logical atoms developed by Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein. But the formal inventiveness exhibited during the year is no more prominent than the social concern. Especially as in 21st century, historical studies of the period have recovered the depth of interest in questions of race, empire, sexual debility, and social failure.

Keywords: modernism, literary periods, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Harlem Renaissance, World War I

Often called the annus mirabilis of modernism, the year 1922 not only opens a window onto a phase of cultural experiment but also raises important issues of historical periodization. That T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” James Joyce’s Ulysses and Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room appeared within the same twelve-month frame is less than a miracle but more than a coincidence; each has not only cast long literary shadows but also opens to a network of other texts and events that widen the significance of 1922. Katherine Mansfield’s The Garden Party and Other Stories, Claude McKay’s Harlem Shadows, and the poems and stories that would compose Jean Toomer’s Cane also appeared in the year. So, too, did Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Dziga-Vertov’s Kino-Pravda films, Alfred Stieglitz’s series of cloud photographs and Bronislaw Malinowski’s Argonauts of the Western Pacific. Although sheer contingency played a role, the near simultaneity of such works forces questions of context, cause, and chronology.

Modernism in and after World War I

The first of these was war. In the months before hostilities commenced in 1914, the experiments of modernism had attained their furthest flowering. In major western capitals, young artists had confidently pressed through limits, breaking norms of representation, narrative coherence, and verbal decorum. Futurism under the leadership of Filippo Marinetti, the Cubism of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, the sculpture of Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire, Mini Loy, and Ezra Pound, were audacities that gave impetus to the modern movement and generated the angry opposition of many established critics. Controversial exhibitions accompanied aggressive polemic in new journals. Just weeks before the eruption of war, the arts appeared sufficiently eruptive on their own. But with the advent of real death on a mass scale, avant-garde provocation became undignified and largely invisible. As Wyndham Lewis, painter and editor of Blast put it, “All Europe was at war and a bigger Blast than mine had rather taken the wind out of my sails.”1 Almost immediately, the stirrings of modernism subsided.

The trauma of war was also an event in modernity, the wide fields of death having been produced by new technologies of destruction. Devastating to Europe on the broadest scale, it also brought specific suffering to the arts. The deaths of Gaudier-Brzeska and the poet/critic T. E. Hulme epitomized the broken creative promise. Those who survived the battlefield and those who stayed at home had their work, as well as their lives, marked by wartime catastrophe. Even when hostilities ended, it took several years for the energies of modernism to revive. The year 1922 stands out against the surrounding chronology, in part because the three previous years had seen far less work being published. Not only had many figures suspended publication, but also important journals had ceased. The machinery of modernism began to move again, but only slowly. The annus mirabilis is in one sense simply the annus excitatus—the waking year. Suddenly, more was published and exhibited; more was discussed, dismissed, and praised.

A fuller account, though, depends on recognizing that although creative work greatly diminished and became scarcely visible during the time of world war, it did not disappear. Nor did the spirit of experiment decay. Some of the most striking manifestations of 1922 must be seen as the effects of wartime imagination, developing in ways unanticipated a few years before. As Marcel Proust faced difficulties in publishing his long novel, À la recherche du temps perdu (“In Search of Lost Time”), the work grew longer and more ambitious. The scheme of three volumes became vastly enlarged, even as the work’s leading themes (memory, art, time) underwent exacting elaborations. Joyce’s Ulysses became far more demanding during these years, as the experiment in stream of consciousness began to seem tame against the provocations of later episodes. Eliot and Pound collaborated in revising techniques of modern poetry, turning from habits of free verse that had become pervasive back to regular rhymes and strophes drawn from Théophile Gautier. In a short fiction of 1917, “The Mark on the Wall,” Woolf began to break the broadly realist register of her first two novels, adumbrating tones and styles that would be decisive to the 1922 breakthrough of Jacob’s Room.

The war did more than offer an uncanny time of experiment; it also affected the larger world-picture of modernism. The slaughter of the young devastated the social hopes of many more than artists and writers, but the modernists were perhaps more prepared to test the resources of despair. Here, the example of the Dadaists was paramount. Those who gathered in Zurich in 1916 had matured too late to have prewar affirmations to uphold. They began with a perception of a collapsing world, and in their first performances at the Cabaret Voltaire, they threw themselves directly at the stupidity of war. Much of the prewar art and literature had been directed at a stagnant and complacent society that seemed, in Lewis’s phrase, “as safe as houses.”2 The extremity of the Dadaists, on the other hand, came in reaction to a violence that overwhelmed the illusion of safety.

Experiment and Resistance

Dadaism produced a new aesthetic; indeed, it was an anti-aesthetic that would be central to many works of 1922. The refusal of any norm, code, or convention; the rudeness and the noise; the contempt for those who seek “meaning”; the cries of despair and the playfulness—these circulated through Europe and North America as examples of defiance without limit. At the beginning of his work on “The Waste Land,” Eliot gave a brief but telling response to Dada, published in The Tyro, Wyndham Lewis’s new postwar journal. The value of the movement, Eliot avers, “depends upon the extent to which it is a moral criticism of French literature and French life.”3 The careful statement indicates both his interest in Dadaist freedom and the determination to turn its license to constructive literary purposes. Joyce, too, acknowledges the prominence of Dada, playfully requesting that his brother stop the rumor “that I founded in Zurich the dadaist movement which is now exciting Paris.”4 The mix of interest and detachment captures the movement’s legacy for these ambitious works of 1922; it suggests how the attractions of unconstrained freedom were overbalanced by worries over Dadaist despair. Turned another way, though, Dada encouraged Eliot and Joyce, among others, to take up mocking indifference toward the stolid orthodoxies that opposed them.

As the moment of publication of “The Waste Land” approached, Eliot considered the forces arrayed against it. In his “London Letter,” contributed to the American journal, the Dial, Eliot evoked a cultural scene bound to resist the challenge of his new poem. “There is certainly, in the atmosphere of literary London, something which may provisionally be called a moral cowardice. It is not simply cowardice, but a caution, a sort of worldly prudence which believes implicitly that English literature is so good as it is that adventure and experiment involve only unjustified risk; lack of ambition, laziness, and refusal to recognize foreign competition, a tolerance which is no better than torpid indifference.”5 This extraordinary statement registers the power of dominant taste and taste makers and is well situated to repel the claims of new art and literature.

During this same period, Woolf also worried about the fortunes of novelty. To her diary, she confided fears that Jacob’s Room would be misunderstood: “What will they say about Jacob? Mad, I suppose a disconnected rhapsody: I don’t know.” After her husband Leonard praised it warmly and expressed hesitations honestly, she writes, “Neither of us know what the public will think of it.” Two months later, still unsure, she casts the anxiety in different terms: “I expect to be told that I’ve written a graceful fantasy, without much bearing on real life. Can one tell?”6 Very soon her mood shifts, when a message arrives from Donald Brace (of the publishers Harcourt Brace), quickly paraphrased in the diary: “We think Jacob’s Room an extraordinarily distinguished & beautiful work. You have, of course, your own method, & it is not easy to foretell how many readers it will have; surely it will have enthusiastic ones, & we delight in publishing it.”7 Woolf’s evident pleasure in the comment is revealing. She exults in the affirmation, even as she accepts Brace’s warning that the readership may be small. It’s one measure of the conditions of 1922. A reviving modernism will win a core of ardent admirers but must accept its place as a minority taste.

The case of Ulysses was more visible and more tortured. From 1918, the Little Review had published episodes of the novel serially. But in 1920, the episode “Nausicaa,” where Leopold Bloom masturbates to the sight of a teasingly exposed Gerty McDowell, brought a complaint of obscenity and was impounded by the U.S. Post Office. The editors of the Little Review, Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap, were arrested in the fall of 1920; their case came to trial in the following year. After the court decided that the text was indeed obscene, serial publication was halted. The trial gave only a foretaste of what followed in February 1922, when the completed novel appeared in Paris. A copy of the book carried into Britain was seized by a customs official, who deposited it with the Home Office. It then came into the hands and under the gaze of Archibald Bodkin, director of public prosecutions. In a letter appearing just before the close of our year, Bodkin responded in searing terms. Noting that he had neither time nor inclination to read through the full novel, he describes his encounter with the final episode, Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, of which he writes, “There is more, and a great deal more than mere vulgarity or coarseness, there is a great deal of unmitigated filth and obscenity.” Bodkin finds it “not only deplorable but at the same time astonishing” that serious journals should attend to Ulysses, and he doubts that “many people could read this book from cover to cover.” He concludes that the customs authorities were justified in their seizure: “It is conceivable that there will be criticism of this attitude toward this publication on the ground that it is the production of a well-known writer: the answer will be that it is filthy and that filthy books are not allowed to be imported into this country.”8 Accordingly, five hundred copies of the novel were burned in Britain. Ulysses came into print in the United States in 1934, but only after the celebrated judgment of John M. Woolsey in United States v. One Book Called Ulysses. In Britain, publication began two years later.

The incidents generated by these three exemplary texts of 1922 display the instability that marked the moment. On one side appears an aesthetic radicalism, each of the writers turning to more difficult forms, tones, and tableaux (and each supported by other writers and artists), as well as publishers willing to run the risk of antagonism and even censorship. On the other side there remains staunch resistance to work seen as dangerous and destructive. Eliot and Woolf are wary of a reviewing system that could dismiss ambitious work with a casual epithet. Joyce’s case shows that beyond the reviewers stood the authority of the state, with its customs officials and its directors of prosecution, who were quick to use the language of “filth” and “disgust,” and even willing to burn modernism, if the outrage were great enough.

Prosperity and Technology, Relief, or Menace

For all the significance of the war and the length of its shadow in the 1920s, it is important to see how quickly social modernization resumed after hostilities ended. Here, a relevant text is Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt. The satiric force of the novel lies in its unmasking of middle-class complacency, with George Babbitt exposed as expert only in the arts of self-deception. Successful in real estate, Babbitt floats on the tide of a new prosperity. The fictional Zenith is “a city built—it seemed—for giants,” fit for Babbitt who “respected bigness in anything.” His “god” is the empyrean of “Modern Appliances,” from alarm clock to automobile, from electric lamp to fan to phone. Near the opening of the novel, Babbitt and his father-in-law (and partner) drive “through South Zenith, a high-colored, banging, exciting region: new factories of hollow tile with gigantic wire-glass windows, surly old red-brick factories stained with tar, high-perched water-tanks, big red trucks like locomotives, and, on a score of hectic side-tracks, far-wandering freight-cars from the New York Central and apple orchards, the Great Northern and wheat-plateaus, the Southern Pacific and orange groves.”9 Beneath the delight in booming expansion, uneasiness leaks into this image of a capitalism ever surpassing its old limits. Babbitt can never coincide with his social role, and Lewis is remorseless in showing the hollow man at the heart of middle class. The empty soul can find no emotional peace amidst thrusting modernization.

In Britain as well as the United States, it was a year of national pride, the British empire now attaining its longest extension. Moreover, the long reach of empire could be secured through the resources of developing media: the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) was founded in October, with the first official broadcast occurring two months later. Older media participated in the general heightening, stirring the avid public with news of the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb, Benito Mussolini’s march on Rome, and the sensational trial of Edith Thompson and Frederick Bywaters for the murder of Thompson’s husband.

Three years later, within the pages of Mrs Dalloway, Woolf will evoke the bewilderment in the face of such changes: “Those five years—1918 to 1923—had been, [Peter Walsh] suspected, somehow very important. People looked different. Newspapers seemed different. Now, for instance, there was a man writing quite openly in one of the respectable weeklies about water-closets. That you couldn’t have done ten years ago—written quite openly about water-closets in a respectable weekly. And then this taking out a stick of rouge, or a powder-puff and making up in public.”10 In another of its strands, Woolf’s novel summons the lingering destruction of war, offering an early haunting portrait of a post-traumatic anxiety that ends in suicide. Septimus Warren-Smith here, like Jacob Flanders in Jacob’s Room, stands as an index of a wartime catastrophe that lives within the returning comfort of peacetime. Yet, as Peter Walsh’s meditation shows, other lives within postwar culture surrendered to the spectacle of novelty, with only passing thought for the dead in foreign fields and the unhealed walking wounded.

Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape and Bertolt Brecht’s Drums in the Night engage the double-facing historical moment by extending the techniques of wartime Expressionism: the repudiation of cramped middle-class rationality and the chasm between classes; the refusal of elite complacency with its brittle insignia of wealth; the summoning of suppressed instinct, especially sexual instinct; and the final release of eruptive passion. Both plays—O’Neill’s in Provincetown, Massachusetts (and later Broadway), Brecht’s in Munich—defy the amnesia of the postwar settlement, asserting the unreconciled claims of those who have been broken and forgotten by war.

The sheer outpouring of 1922 has the quality of a pent-up release, but for all its diversity, these two strands wind through the months: an insistence on the indelible mark of war and a critical fascination with the spectacle of postwar abundance. E.E. Cummings’s The Enormous Room is a long index of the former, a memoir of life in prison detention, where the absurdity of wartime officialdom cannot suppress vital anarchic humanity. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned is a document of New York in the early 1920s: the jazz, the bobbed hair, the cocktail nihilism, and the long nights with loose morals. But until its very end, the narrative remains set in the immediate prewar and early wartime years. This double temporality—the fast, empty life of the prosperous twenties fused with the wariness of approaching war—serves as fit image of the divided attention of 1922.

Lawrence’s Aaron’s Rod opens with the evocative reflection: “There was a large, brilliant evening star in the early twilight, and underfoot the earth was half frozen. It was Christmas Eve. Also the War was over, and there was a sense of relief that was almost a new menace. A man felt the violence of the nightmare released now into the general air.”11 Something horrible is over, but something dreadful remains. Relief returns at the sight of a world brightening, but a sense of menace still shows itself—both the menace of unforgotten war and of unmeaning prosperity. Michael North has remarked that 1922 seemed catastrophic to Willa Cather (the year “the world broke in two”), while for Fitzgerald it was “the peak of the younger generation.”12 This is the twofold valence pervading the cultural imagination of 1922. To emphasize only the after-trauma of war is to miss the other movement: the lurch into technological modernity that has learned to forget trauma within the distractions of material progress.

Rivalries and Reviews

As the literary world came back to publishing life, individual writers showed a keener consciousness of the achievements of contemporaries (and rivals). In this respect, 1922 marks a new stage in the self-awareness of modernism as a growing but unstable subculture. As individual figures extended their aims, they looked with both interest and uneasiness at one another. Some notable collaborations emerged during the year. The so-called surrealists began to gather under the leadership of André Breton as a successor movement to a dispersed Dadaism. In the fall, Eliot began his influential journal The Criterion, inviting contributions from major figures in literary and intellectual modernism. At the same time, several of Eliot’s friends and supporters, led by Ezra Pound, were pursuing a campaign (called Bel Esprit) to raise enough money to free the poet from grueling work in Lloyds Bank; although it ended by making little difference to Eliot, bel esprit is a sign of solidarity in this year of modernist renewal. So, too, was the generosity of Sydney Schiff, writer and patron (of Lewis’s The Tyro among other ventures), who in the spring hosted a celebrated dinner at the Majestic Hotel, to which he invited Joyce, Proust, Picasso, and Igor Stravinksy.

That famous dinner, however, also measured the distance among the modernists. Although recollections differ, many recalled Stravinsky’s impatience over the cult of Beethoven and also the awkwardness between Proust and Joyce (neither of whom admitted to reading the other’s work) fumbling for conversation over trivialities. The two were not the only ones wary of each other. In February, just before the appearance of The Garden Party and Other Stories, Woolf had wryly noted that Katherine Mansfield “bursts upon the world in glory next week,” and then once the book began winning accolades, the diary shows signs of nervous strain: “So what does it matter if K.M. soars in the newspapers, & runs up sales skyhigh? Ah, I have found a fine way of putting her in her place. The more she is praised, the more I am convinced she is bad. After all, there’s some truth in this. She touches the spot too universally for that spot to be of the bluest blood.”13 In a moment of rivalry there comes a retreat to the claims of minority taste, anti-commercial even anti-democratic.

A few months later, Woolf indicates a new reading regiment: the Odyssey, Ulysses, and Proust’s Recherche. Mansfield was a minor challenge for her; Proust was sufficiently different. Joyce, however, was difficult to parry. After its appearance in February, Ulysses soon dominated literary conversation. Woolf’s friendship with Eliot trembled over their differences over the book. Among some notorious early comments in late August, she writes that “I dislike Ulysses more & more—that is think it more & more unimportant; & dont even trouble conscientiously to make out its meanings.” Ten days later, the venom is stronger: “I finished Ulysses, & think it a mis-fire. Genius it has, I think; but of the inferior water. The book is diffuse. It is brackish. It is pretentious. It is underbred, not only in the obvious sense, but in the literary sense. A first rate writer, I mean, respects writing too much to be tricky; startling; doing stunts.” The following day she reads an essay on Joyce by Gilbert Seldes, published in The Nation, conceding that the analysis “certainly makes it very much more impressive than I judged.”14 Woolf then defends the rights of first impressions, points out that contemporaries can rarely weigh ultimate values, and suggests that part of her resistance is due to bridling against Eliot’s excessive praise.

The episode reflects both the energy and uneasiness of the cardinal year. The consciousness of the significant achievements of Mansfield, Proust, and Joyce brings absorption, but it also incites suspicion of unearned cultish admiration. Here, Eliot’s response to Ulysses is equally instructive. He had read early installments in the Little Review with an enthusiasm that only grew when Joyce sent him later episodes. Of “Scylla and Charybdis,” he wrote, “I have lived on it ever since I read it” and then described his admiration of “Circe” to Joyce directly: “I wish for my own sake, that I had not read it.” By late in the year, though, Eliot had drawn back from the unstinting praise, confessing to Richard Aldington that “I find it extremely difficult to put my opinion of the book intelligently, inasmuch as I have little sympathy with the majority of either its admirers or its detractors.”15

The agitated relation to contemporaries created an evident strain in those trying to raise the artistic stakes after the return to peace. Work was interrupted by consciousness of the evaluation of work. From London, Eliot looked longingly across the Channel: “If I came to live in Paris the first thing to do would be to cut myself off from it, and not depend upon it. Joyce I admire as a person who seems to be independent of outside stimulus, and who therefore is likely to go on producing first-rate work until he dies.”16 Indeed, Joyce paid little mind to the new work around him, consumed as he was by the publication of Ulysses, the errors still haunting the text, the resistance from suspicious readers, and the hope for success even if just among a small group of admirers.

The power of the reviewing apparatus must be central to any account of the culture of 1922. The critics, too, had made a vigorous return after the war. New journals were forming, and editors were wielding an influence that was hard to disregard. Among them, J.C. Squire was the most prominent and most feared. He had been literary editor of the New Statesman; just after the war he founded and edited London Mercury. Eliot, who had written for Squire at the New Statesman, came to despise his postwar incarnation, explaining the difficulty to John Quinn: “The London Mercury, which started with a great deal of advertisement, will I hope, fail in a few years’ time. It is run by a small clique of bad writers. J. C. Squire, the editor, knows nothing about poetry; but he is the cleverest journalist in London. If he succeeds, it will be impossible to get anything good published. His influence controls or affects the literary contents and criticism of five or six periodicals already.” No doubt Eliot he was thinking of Squire when he feared the reception of “The Waste Land” and when he described the hostility that met Joyce’s novel in London: “There is a strong body of critical Brahminism, destructive and conservative in temper, which will not have Joyce. Novelty is no more acceptable here than anywhere else, and the forces of conservatism and obstruction are more intelligent, better educated, and more formidable.”17 It’s equally telling that when Woolf worried over the growing prominence of Mansfield, she consoled herself with the thought of a harsh review of her rival, penned by the powerful Squire.

Difficulty and Anti-Sentimentality

What made the postwar work vulnerable to critique was, first of all, the willingness of writers to refuse conventions that they had sustained in their prewar and wartime work. Even texts as limit testing as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, or “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” still offered recognizable voices and tones, intelligible motive and emotion, sufficient coherence of scene, and enough continuity with 19th-century precedents to attract the curious reader. But in all of these three present cases, the publications of 1922 defied known literary approaches. Here is Woolf projecting the novel that changed the terms of her career:

  • I think the main point is that it should be free.
  • Yet what about form?
  • Let us suppose that the Room will hold it together.
  • Intensity of life compared with immobility.
  • Experiences.
  • To change style at will.18

The first and last remarks express the abandonment of focalizing narrative: no sequence, no character, no setting or logic of plot will limit the novelist’s right to shift attention. It is not only that characters quickly exchange places at the center of paragraphs but also that the plane of incident often gives way to the scene of writing. Readers are compelled to notice the fictionality of fiction and the futility of representation: “Nobody sees any one as he is . . . They see a whole—they see all sorts of things—they see themselves.” Or again: “Even the exact words get the wrong accent on them.”19

There is a Jacob. He grows, reads, desires, withdraws, sails, talks (infrequently), dies in war. His shoes are left in his room. But there are “chasms of continuity” in this life, Jacob flaring only to fade, carefully withdrawn from the wishes and worries of a reader. The narrator is blunt: “It is no use trying to sum people up. One must follow hints, not exactly what is said, nor yet entirely what is done.”20 Woolf gains purpose through resistance to “sentimentality,” a word that names not only sloppy emotion, but any surrender of thought to imperatives of feeling. Her critique of Mansfield turns on the word. She describes Mansfield’s “Bliss” as “so brilliant—so hard, and so shallow, and so sentimental that I had to rush to the bookcase for something to drink.”21 Later, she is more revealingly exact: “She can’t put thoughts, or feelings, or subtleties of any kind into her characters, without at once becoming, where she’s serious, hard, and where she’s sympathetic, sentimental.”22 Eliot confirms the distaste in a letter, where he brings it into his rivalry with Mansfield’s husband, John Middleton Murry: “I believe her to be a dangerous WOMAN; and of course two sentimentalists together are more than two times as noxious as one.”23 Then, there is Joyce, whose Stephen Dedalus ends a telegram (“cribbed out of Meredith”) at midday on the 16 June 1904: “The sentimentalist is he who would enjoy without incurring the immense debtorship for a thing done.”24

The contempt for sentimentality is part of a broader resistance to Victorian conventions of narrative pleasure. But it is also part of the justification of difficulty. Warm satisfactions can be produced all too easily. Subtle feeling and complex thought will inevitably make demands upon the reader. Eliot’s statement from his essay on “The Metaphysical Poets” gives one epitome: “It appears likely that poets in our civilization, as it exists at present, must be difficult. Our civilization comprehends great variety and complexity, and this variety and complexity, playing upon a refined sensibility, must produce various and complex results. The poet must become more and more comprehensive, more allusive, more indirect, in order to force, to dislocate if necessary, language into his meaning.”25

Within Jacob’s Room, “dislocation” occurs when the narrating eye roves quickly across boundaries between people, species, and geographies, “all the while having for centre, for magnet, a young man alone in his room.”26 “Magnet” is a fit term, one great gamble in the book being to take Jacob as the object, rather than the subject, of desire. What he wants, who can say. But we can follow his movements toward and beyond Cambridge by the ripple stirring through others. The other term, “centre,” highlights the spatial imagination in the novel, its debt to the new formalism in painting that had interested Woolf since 1910 and the first post-Impressionist exhibition in London. That the book can be held together by a “Room” rather than a character is an index of its spatiality, its willingness to ascend beyond the singular lives of particular beings. A late passage evokes the simultaneity of a man carrying a lantern, a raft of twigs floating toward a culvert, snow falling from a branch, a mournful cry, and a motor car—which lead to the illuminating utterance: “Spaces of complete immobility separated each of these movements.”27 Such acts of visualization, organized around a room and a proper name (Jacob), bring the novel close to painterly abstraction.

Style and Subjectivity, Myth, and Everyday Life

One bright thread through these three works is this unsteady balance between a humanist project—concerned with questions of social aspiration and failure, skepticism and religious belief, desire and violence—and a rigorous formalism that submits human action to the constraints of verbal rhythm and narrative shape. Within Woolf’s novel, Jacob retains force as a young man of bounding promise, thwarted by meaningless war, even as he serves as focal device for the novel’s play of forms and tones.

The early stages of Ulysses broach and then refine stream-of-consciousness methods and begins in high fidelity to the texture of immediate experience. Here is Leopold Bloom preparing breakfast for his wife Molly: “Another slice of bread and butter: three, four: right. She didn’t like her plate full. Right. He turned from the tray, lifted the kettle off the hob and set it sideways on the fire. It sat there, dull and squat, its spout stuck out. Cup of tea soon. Good. Mouth dry.”28 As Joyce composed through wartime, however, the achievement of stream of consciousness gave way to formal virtuosities of an increasingly demanding kind. By the time he had written the episode “Sirens,” the music of language replaced the movement of mind, as in the depiction of the man who will cuckold Bloom: “By Bachelor’s walk jogjaunty jingled Blazes Boylan, bachelor, in sun, in heat, mare’s glossy rump atrot, with flick of whip, on bounding tyres: sprawled, warmseated, Boylan impatience, ardentbold.”29 Joyce anticipated (and soon received) impatient words from loyal readers who thought that the vocation of style had gone too far.

Style and subjectivity remained in unresolved tension, in large part an effect of different aims that met during the war and culminated in postwar publication. Here, another change within Ulysses should be mentioned. The novel began where Joyce’s previous novel had ended, with a portrait of the artist—arrogant, untamed, risk-taking, self-tormenting. But early in the new and far grander work, Stephen Dedalus gives way to Leopold Bloom, a change that represents broader movements in the history of modernism. Joyce had committed a decade to rendering the life of a modern artist and the barriers standing in his way, but as he launches fully into Ulysses, he announces that “Stephen no longer interests me to the same extent. He has a shape that can’t be changed.”30 The turn from young artist to l’homme moyen sensuel (ordinary sensual man) opens toward an immersion in everyday life that also links Joyce and Woolf during this year. Both writers excavate the minor textures of sensory experience: the smells and tastes, the moving atmosphere, the granular detail.

For Joyce, the absorption in particularity, however precise, exists within the vastness of another frame, the famous Homeric correspondence. As he put it in the passage above, every hour, organ, and art belongs within the scheme of the whole, each episode finding its counterpart in the Odyssey, which suggests innumerable contrasts and false contrasts to contemporary Dublin life. Here we find an extremely close connection to Eliot’s avowed method in “The Waste Land.” In his footnote Eliot acknowledged a work of anthropology, Jessie L. Weston’s study of the Grail legends, From Ritual to Romance, as providing “not only the title, but the plan and a good deal of the incidental symbolism.” But Joyce’s example was more decisive, and in the following year, Eliot spelled out the terms of his influence. In “Ulysses, Order and Myth,” he described the use of the Odyssey as having “the importance of a scientific discovery.”

In using the myth, in manipulating a continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity, Mr Joyce is pursuing a method which others must pursue after him

. . . It is simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history. . . . Instead of narrative method, we may now have mythic method.31

In an essay on William Blake, Eliot had recently suggested that “you cannot create a very long poem without introducing a more impersonal point of view, or splitting it up into various personalities.”32 The tactic of “The Waste Land” is to choose both methods. The tones of impersonality and detachment—“April is the cruellest month” “A crowd flowed over London bridge, so many”—shift quickly into plaintive calls and cries: “You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable, —mon frere!”; “O Lord Thou pluckest me out.”33 The effect, notorious from the first readings to friends, is a poem that refuses the usual cues to comprehension—or even conversation. This is what Woolf found when she became one of the earliest to confront the provocation: “Eliot dined last Sunday & read his poem. He sang it & chanted it rhythmed it. It has great beauty & force of phrase: symmetry; & tensity. What connects it together, I’m not so sure . . . One was left, however, with some strong emotion.”34 Eliot’s own conviction was that “genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” However, such views can only partly console the bewildered reader.

More than in either Woolf’s or Joyce’s novels, Eliot’s poetry abandons consecutive meaning: pronouns alter, scenes shift, and within individual sentences, grammar comes undone. Squire at the London Mercury described the poem as “a vagrant string of drab pictures . . . A grunt would serve equally well.”35 The phrase is one keynote for a broad revulsion that should not be forgotten in the years since Eliot’s canonization. Aware of the difficulties, the notorious footnotes were added when the poem appeared as a published book at the end of the year. The author’s uneasiness is clear from the self-mocking tease of certain notes. But others, for instance the acknowledgement of From Ritual to Romance or the clarification of the role of Tiresias in the poem, would prove crucial to its early apprehension.

Equally decisive were some early reviews, chief among them Edmund Wilson’s essay, “The Poetry of Drouth.” Wilson grants all the difficulties, but then he carefully builds a context for reception. He points to the musical satisfactions of the poem, identifies leading emotions, and insists that “in spite of its lack of structural unity,” the poem is “simply one triumph after another.” Tellingly, Wilson relies on the reference to Jessie L. Weston in the recently published notes; even as he insists that the information is unnecessary, he carefully explains Weston’s figure of the waste land, the “desolate and sterile country, ruled over by an impotent king, in which not only have the crops ceased to grow and the animals to reproduce their kind, but the very human inhabitants have become unable to bear children.”36 That tableau, at once legend and remnant of ancient vegetation rituals, serves as Eliot’s image of the contemporary city and the predicament of modernity. The short review is not only a piece of critical virtuosity at a decisive moment; it also helped to establish the centrality of the “mythic method” that Eliot would recognize in Joyce. By affirming the larger framework with its long-sanctioned and coherent narrative, Wilson allowed readers to accept the absence of familiar signs of unity.

From the Image to Montage

Eliot spoke of “splitting up” a poem into “various personalities”; Woolf worried that her novel would seem a “disconnected rhapsody”; Joyce explained that each of his episodes was “to condition and even to create its own technique.” These statements give closely related images of a multiplicity resisting unity, and they suggest a surprising convergence upon the value of plurality. Another major text of 1922, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus, stands as illuminating philosophic counterpart. Although its assumptions and core concepts are difficult, what is clear is the commitment to the structure of the world as pluralist rather than monist. The world is the totality of facts—entirely separate facts composed of distinct objects. Every “proposition” depends on “elementary propositions” corresponding to the world’s “states of affairs.” The many facts yield many propositional truths, each independent of the other.

Bertrand Russell, Wittgenstein’s mentor at Cambridge, had called this view “logical atomism” during a wartime essay where he identified Wittgenstein as the author of the insight. For Russell, the crucial step came when notions of the “Ideal” and the “Absolute” could be abandoned as relics of a premodern age. Those concepts were vestiges of idealism, in both German and British traditions, which held that valid truth could only appear when the world’s diversity was reconciled in ultimate unity. Within Anglo-American philosophy, the modernist revolution lies in refusing the claims of such unity in accepting the blooming multifarious world.

The analogy should not be pressed too hard, and yet it is striking to see how many figures, within different disciplines and forms, employed the resources of multiplicity. Eliot is a key point of connection. His doctoral training was in philosophy; the subject of his dissertation was the idealism of F. H. Bradley; his teacher was the young Russell, in the midst of his assault on idealism. Eliot, who had struggled with competing claims of unity and plurality, arrived at the telling formulation: “Bradley’s Absolute dissolves at a touch into its constituents.”37 This is a philosophic assertion, but as “The Waste Land,” among other texts, makes clear, the escape from the unified absolute and the liberation of its parts is a far-reaching imaginative act.

This rising power of the plural is notable when set against the prewar aesthetic of the single instant of perception: the “impression,” “Image,” and “vortex” as small self-standing wholes that would only lose force through elaboration. The characteristic postwar project was to preserve the evocative power of instants, but to place them within a wide emerging pattern. “The Waste Land” sustains the austerity of Pound’s Imagism, brief spare vignettes shorn of context but now brought into unexplained kaleidoscopic relation among themselves.

Elsewhere during the year, the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov (né Denis Kaufman) and his collective produced revolutionary experiments in documentary cinema, Kino-Pravda. The films were a series of newsreels that recorded the building of the new Soviet state and articulated a new method of filmmaking. Asserting a contrast to the cinematic pabulum fed to the bourgeois class “adventure dramas, sentimental dramas, pseudo-historical dramas, and pseudo-dramas of ordinary life”38—Kino-Pravda showed the revolutionary worker in the midst of the task.39 (“The new man, free of unwieldiness and clumsiness, will have the light, precise movements of machines, and he will be the gratifying subject of our films.”)40 The Soviet citizen will be reflected in a cinema that repudiates continuity, dramatic suspense, or focus on individual character. Dziga Vertov’s films appear as a construction of loosely related sequences, constructed into a perspective-shifting montage intended to capture the truth of the present tense.

How shall we account for these intersecting structures of thought and feeling? What are the deep attractions of polyphony and montage? Partly, they must be seen as manifestations of a post-religious moment that has surrendered unity of faith and looks toward the (re)construction of meaning out of the secure particulars of immediate experience. But in the literary field, the success of such works also depended on an audience prepared to accept the challenges of discontinuity. The shift among scenes, speakers, tones, techniques, viewing perspectives, fictional levels, historical moments—this is a salient feature of the literature of 1922. Its pervasiveness should continue to surprise us. But so, too, should the willingness of an audience to countenance montage modernism. The spread of a new reading practice is itself a cultural transformation and is best seen as acceptance of non-paraphrasable literary experience. When Woolf writes that she does not know what holds Eliot’s poem together but that she received a “strong emotion” from hearing it, she epitomizes a receptive attitude that has begun to consolidate. The ability to surrender the need to translate sensation/emotion into meaning is a significant benchmark explicitly achieved in this year of literary provocation. It finds an apt parallel in the celebrated conclusion to the Tractatus: “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”41

Social Concern and Literary Form

To emphasize the structural pattern of montage/polyphony and the acceptance of non-paraphrasable experience should not imply that questions of meaning disappear. Joyce’s engagement with Irish independence, Woolf’s with the intimate costs of war, Eliot’s with the futility of desire—these were as conspicuous as the forms. But the demand throughout this body of work was an insistence that urgent concerns must find the right form—even extremely difficult form. Meaning only finds expression within many-voiced montage and cannot simply be read out in summary or slogan.

An abiding question has been how to reconcile these two modernist urgencies: the urgency of concern (social, historical, personal) with the urgency of form. The issue becomes pointed and illuminating in another literary event of 1922. Although no one can date the event with precision, a fair consensus holds that this year also saw the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance, one of whose founding texts was Claude McKay’s Harlem Shadows. The volume opens with McKay’s clarification as to where he stands on the modernist experiment:

Although very conscious of the new criticisms and trends in poetry, to which I am keenly responsive and receptive, I have adhered to such of the older traditions as I find adequate for my most lawless and revolutionary passions and moods. I have not used patterns, images and words that would stamp me a classicist nor a modernist.42

The commitment to a double-sided aesthetic—“older traditions,” “revolutionary passions”—shows most clearly within the volume’s best-known poem, “If We Must Die,” which conducts its rage within the regularity of poetic schema: “If we must die, let it not be like hogs / Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot / While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs, / Making their mock at our accursed lot.” McKay insists on the formal control of the sonnet as the fit container of political ferocity: “I have not hesitated to use words which are old, and in some circles considered poetically overworked and dead, when I thought I could make them glow alive by new manipulation.”43

A second work came to completion in December (reaching publication the following year). Unlike Harlem Shadows, Jean Toomer’s Cane emerged out of a trip to Georgia after the war, where Toomer found a surviving African American culture that he was intent to memorialize: “The folk-spirit was walking in to die on the modern desert. The spirit was so beautiful. Its death was so tragic. Just this seemed the sum of life to me. And this was the feeling I put into Cane. Cane was a swan-song. It was a song of an end.”44 But the song was also self-consciously modernist. Toomer had accumulated an array of works—play, poems, many short stories—and sometime in 1922 he realized that he could bring these many pieces into a single composite text. He acknowledged the crucial precedent of Sherwood Anderson’s linked stories in Winesburg, Ohio, but his letters leave no doubt that he saw possibilities in the montage of Joyce and Eliot. Just as radically, Toomer justified the heterogeneity of his work by depicting it in abstract terms, which he identified with the new non-representational photography of Alfred Stieglitz’s Clouds:

From three angles, [Cane’s] design is a circle. Aesthetically, from simple forms to complex ones, and back to simple forms. Regionally, from the South up into the North, and back into the South again. Or, From the North down into the South, and then a return North.45

It’s not only the mix of forms in Cane but also the diversity of justifications that makes it illustrative. When it was published in the next year, it not only helped to validate a growing community of African American writers but also divided opinion in instructive ways. W.E. B. Du Bois, the leading figure in and behind the Renaissance, took the view that the new art must contribute to a movement of social justice that would accept “the right of black folk to love and enjoy.” To that end, he asserts in “utter shamelessness” that “All Art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists.”46 Cane is therefore “partially spoiled” for Du Bois, who calls himself “unduly irritated by this sort of thing.” From this standpoint, the book’s difficulties stand in the way of its social force. There is “much that is difficult or even impossible to understand.”47 But on another side of the question, Alain Locke ardently defended the rights of experiment within the Renaissance. He repudiated “the hampering habit of setting artistic values with primary regard for moral effect.”48 For Locke it was a sign of cultural triumph that young African American writers were now “motivated by more truly artistic motives of self-expression.”

These contending views of Toomer’s Cane capture a division that opened in 1922 and has never closed. The formal demands and satisfactions of experimental literature encouraged ideas of artistic self-sufficiency. Simultaneously, the subjects of the year’s work—war, race, sexual blight, imperial domination, national independence—required social engagement. One legacy of 1922 was this opposition that has marked the response to modernism ever since: the claims of self-justifying form, the necessity for political understanding.

The seven months before war broke out in 1914 had seen an efflorescence of modernist experiment. The year 1922 stands as its counterpart, although with a telling difference. In the earlier moment, it briefly seemed that no norm or precedent could stop the limit-crossing demands of young artists. Free verse, non-linear plot, transgressive speech, and non-figurative painting; the exuberance of Futurists, Cubists, Cubo-Futurists, and Vorticists; the shock of the press and the provocation of artistic extremity—all nourished one another. The extraordinary ferment ended abruptly when war began. The history of 1922, it is clear, was neither return nor resumption but the beginning of a new modernism at once chastened and more ambitious. The trauma of war was often inescapable, becoming in many works both intrusive theme and pervading atmosphere. Yet, in other works the war had vanished, forgotten under the rhythms of the Jazz Age, liberated morals, and booming industrialism. Annus mirabilis, annus excitatus was a complex mix of mourning and overlooking, trauma and invitation, and an uneasy negotiation between defiant artists and a vigorous culture industry, growing apace in Hollywood and on Broadway.

The year is not best seen as a singular and surprising anomaly, a convergence that comes rarely. Literary historians have naturally been charmed by the arrivals of Ulysses and “The Waste Land,” but it is evident that these consequential texts need to be restored to a context of intense cultural activity. The intensity was possible because, during the enforced hiatus of war, many figures were given time to extend the reach of ambition. After 1922, the pace of activity remained just as quick and the provocation of experiment just as deep.

Seen from this perspective, 1922 is quite different from the years that preceded it but similar to the years that followed. That it was a year of major literary publication is no more important a signature than its status as historical pivot or swivel. The year breaks from the disorientation and torpor of war and postwar. It opens into confidence among writers, their unrepentant radicalism, and a loyal audience receptive to difficult work. These conditions, entrenched over the next decade, have never fully vanished. In this respect 1922 marked both a decisive break and a precedent.

Discussion of the Literature

Through the past generation of academic research, the 1920s have remained near the center of modernist studies, while the year 1922 has retained a decisive position. The original nucleus of literary interest—Eliot, Joyce, and Woolf—has widely expanded, even as the prominence of these three authors still anchors a growing secondary literature. The benefits of sustaining attention on a twelve-month period have encouraged later scholars to work within the same temporal limits, even as they deepened the interpretive implications and refined the methods of such focus. The body of distinguished achievement includes James Chandler’s England in 1819, Thomas J. Harrison’s 1910: The Emergence of Dissonance, Jean-Michel Rabaté’s 1913: The Cradle of Modernism and then a series of studies of 1922 by Marc Manganaro (Culture, 1922: The Emergence of a Concept), Kevin Jackson (Constellations of Genius: Modernism Year One), and Rabaté’s important collection of essays (1922: Literature, Culture, Politics).

Although the emphases of these works differ, as do their historical foci, together they have established the generative resources of taking a narrowly delimited period that can disclose surprising connections and that can also encourage us to think more rigorously and self-consciously about the nature of historical study. A compression of time has consistently led to an expansion in the range of examples. In earlier academic generations, the annus mirabilis 1922 largely appeared within critical approaches to modernism that still placed literature at the center. Work such as Hugh Kenner’s The Pound Era or early studies of the Bloomsbury Group steadily established the degree of confluence in the postwar moment. As the narrow canon of modernism widened, the immediate postwar period, and 1922 in particular, took on new density. Studies of the Harlem Renaissance by Houston A. Baker Jr., George Hutchinson, and Cheryl A. Wall, among others, represent one crucial extension. Accounts of World War I and its cultural effects, including Sarah Cole’s At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland and Vincent Sherry’s magisterial The Great War and the Language of Modernism, have given telling contexts for understanding 1922.

Recent work on modernist film by Laura Marcus (The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period) and David Trotter (Cinema and Modernism) have been strong additions to the critical conversation, as have studies of religion and modernism, including Suzanne Hobson, Angels of Modernism: Religion, Culture, Aesthetics, 1910-1960, Pericles Lewis, Religious Experience in the Modernist Novel, and Matthew Mutter, Restless Secularism: Modernism and the Religious Inheritance. The conditions of the postwar avant-garde, including the collision between Dadaism and Surrealism in 1922, have been illuminated by Jed Rasula in Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century.

An indispensable addition to the bibliography has been the labor of editors and biographers, who have kept their attention on individual authors and artists but whose separate efforts have contributed to the growing historical density. Among those three early canonized figures, for instance, the letters of T. S. Eliot, the letters and diaries of Virginia Woolf, and a series of biographies (Richard Ellmann’s James Joyce eminent among them) help to constitute a nearly day-by-day account through the months of 1922. Detailed timelines are one sign of the scholarly achievement (see the timelines in Rabaté and Jackson).

The accumulating effect of the work of the current academic generation has been to construct a complex figure of 1922 as an illuminating cultural node within a reticulating historical network. The power of single-year thinking now accompanies more subtle pictures of the relations between contexts and particulars. This collective scholarly achievement can offer a model for scholars working in other periods and on other years.

Further Reading

Cole, Sarah. At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1914.Find this resource:

Harrison, Thomas, J. 1910: The Emergence of Dissonance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.Find this resource:

Hobson, Suzanne. Angels of Modernism: Religion, Culture, Aesthetics, 1910–1960. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.Find this resource:

Jackson, Kevin. Constellations of Genius: Modernism Year One. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.Find this resource:

Lewis, Pericles. Religious Experience in the Modernist Novel. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2010.Find this resource:

Manganaro, Marc. Culture, 1922: The Emergence of a Concept. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Marcus, Laura. The Tenth Muse: Writing about Cinema in the Modernist Period. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Morrison, Mark S. The Public Face of Modernism: Little Magazines, Audiences, and Reception, 1905–1920. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001.Find this resource:

Mutter, Matthew. Restless Secularism: Modernism and the Religious Inheritance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

North, Michael. Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.Find this resource:

Rabaté, Jean-Michel. 1913: The Cradle of Modernism. Oxford: Blackwell, 2007.Find this resource:

Rabaté, Jean-Michel, ed. 1922: Literature, Culture, Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Rasula, Jed. Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth CenturyFind this resource:

Sherry, Vincent. The Great War and the Language of Modernism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Trotter, David. Cinema and Modernism. Maiden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.Find this resource:


(1.) Wyndham Lewis, Blasting and Bombadiering (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1937), 90.

(2.) Lewis, Blasting and Bombadiering, 95.

(3.) T. S. Eliot, “The Lesson of Baudelaire,” The Tyro (Spring 1921): 4.

(4.) James Joyce, Letters of James Joyce, vol. 3, ed. Richard Ellmann (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), 22.

(5.) T. S. Eliot, “London Letter,” Dial 72 (May 1922): 511.

(6.) Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, ed. Anne Olivier Bell, vol. 2: 1920–1924 (London: The Hogarth Press, 1978), 179.

(7.) Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, 205.

(8.) quoted in Kevin Birmingham, The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses (London: Head of Zeus, 2015), 252–253.

(9.) Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt in Main Street and Babbitt (The Library of America: New York, NY, 1992), 489, 515, 492, 548–549.

(10.) Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, ed. David Bradshaw (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 61.

(11.) D. H. Lawrence, Aaron’s Rod (Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1981), 11.

(12.) Michael North, Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 3–4.

(13.) Woolf, Diary, 161, 171.

(14.) Woolf, Diary, 199, 200.

(15.) T.S. Eliot, The Letters of T.S. Eliot: 1898–1922, vol. 1, eds. Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011), 314, 455, 594.

(16.) Eliot, Letters of T. S. Eliot, 563.

(17.) Eliot, Letters of T. S. Eliot, 435, 375.

(18.) quoted in Sue Roe, “The Impact of Post-Impressionism,” The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf, eds. Sue Roe and Susan Sellars (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 179.

(19.) Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room, ed. Kate Flint (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 36, 97.

(20.) Jacob’s Room, 130, 37.

(21.) Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf, vol.2, 1912–1922. ed. Nigel Nicolson (London: Hogarth Press, 1976), 514.

(22.) Virginia Woolf, The Letters of Virginia Woolf, vol. 3, 1923–1928. ed. Nigel Nicolson (London: Hogarth Press, 1977), 59.

(23.) Eliot, Letters of T.S. Eliot, 473.

(24.) James Joyce, Ulysses (London: The Bodley Head, 1937), 188.

(25.) T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964), 248.

(26.) Woolf, Jacob’s Room, 129.

(27.) Woolf, Jacob’s Room, 134.

(28.) Joyce, Ulysses, 48.

(29.) Joyce, Ulysses, 255–256.

(30.) quoted in Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses (New York: H. Smith and R. Haas, 1934), 105.

(31.) T. S. Eliot, Ulysses, Order and Myth,” Selected Prose, ed. Frank Kermode (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1975), 177.

(32.) Eliot, Selected Essays, 278.

(33.) T. S. Eliot, The Complete Poems and Plays (London: Faber and Faber, 1978), 61, 62, 63, 70.

(34.) Virginia Woolf, Diary, vol. 2, 178.

(35.) London Mercury 8 (October, 1923).

(36.) Edmund Wilson, “The Poetry of Drouth,” Dial 1922, 615.

(37.) T. S. Eliot, “Leibniz’ Monads and Bradley’s Finite Centres,” in Knowledge and Experience in the Philosophy of F.H. Bradley (London: Faber and Faber, 1964), 200.

(38.) Lines of Resistance: Dziga Vertov and the Twenties, ed. Yuri Tsivian (Gemona, Udine: Le Giornate del Cinema Muro, 2004), 84.

(39.) Lines of Resistance, 84.

(40.) “WE: Variant of a Manifesto” in Kino-Eye: The Writings of Dziga Vertov, ed. Annette Michelson (Berkeley: University of California Press,1984), 8.

(41.) Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, trans. C. K. Ogden (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), 189.

(42.) Claude McKay, Complete Poems, ed. William J. Maxwell (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 315.

(43.) McKay, Complete Poems, 177–178, 315.

(44.) Jean Toomer, The Letters of Jean Toomer 1919–1924, ed. Mark Whalan (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 115.

(45.) Toomer, Letters of Jean Toomer, 101.

(46.) W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Younger Literary Movement,” The Crisis, 27 (February 1924), 151.

(47.) Du Bois, “The Younger Literary Movement,” 161–163.

(48.) Alain Locke, “Youth Speaks,” Survey Graphic (March 1925): 131.