Sunday, June 5, 2011

On the Dominant Mode and its Late Phases



We are still sorting out whatever happened in Modernism - particularly as more and most "lost" figures are being rediscovered - and it is difficult to believe that its moment is over, that we are not simply in a late (or later) phase. Many of its radical and once-shocking innovations (collage, abstraction, improvisation, free verse) have become so absorbed in the culture that they are now standard practice in kindergartens. But the most typical artworks of so-called postmodernism - installations, pastiche, "language" poetry - when stripped of their critical theory scaffolding aren't all that different from those produced a hundred years ago. They have merely shifted out of the various facets of Modernism - irony - into a dominant mode.

-- Eliot Weinberger, "Who Made It New?"- NYRB, June 23, 2011

Pictured: An old kindergarten classroom

4 comments:

Jordan said...

I often wonder what everyone imagines is meant by "poetry should be at least as well written as prose."

Don Share said...

I often wonder what Ezra Pound, or rather Ford Madox Ford, meant by it. Or what London in the 1910s was like to have prompted the idea!

Jordan said...

While we're wondering, am I wrong to think that in that review EW took the Josipovici book much more seriously than Josipovici himself did?

Anonymous said...

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