By Peter J. Kalliney
Commonwealth of Letters examines midcentury literary associations vital to modernism and postcolonial writing. a number of enterprises principal to interwar modernism, corresponding to the BBC, influential publishers, and collage English departments, grew to become vital websites within the emergence of postcolonial literature after the warfare. How did a few of modernism's top figures of the 1930s-such as T.S. Eliot, Louis MacNeice, and Stephen Spender-come to appreciate overdue colonial and early postcolonial literature within the Fifties? equally, why did past due colonial and early postcolonial writers-including Chinua Achebe, Kamau Brathwaite, Claude McKay, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o-actively search alliances with metropolitan intellectuals? Peter Kalliney's unique and huge archival paintings on modernist cultural associations demonstrates that this disparate staff of intellectuals had powerful specialist incentives to regard each other extra as fellow literary pros, and not more as political or cultural antagonists.
Surprisingly, metropolitan intellectuals and their past due colonial opposite numbers leaned seriously on modernist theories of aesthetic autonomy to facilitate their collaborative ventures. For white, metropolitan writers, T.S. Eliot's proposal of impersonality may well support recruit new audiences and conspirators from colonized areas of the realm. For black, colonial writers, aesthetic autonomy should be used to visualize a literary sphere uniquely immune to the kinds of racial prejudice endemic to the colonial method. This strategic collaboration didn't final ceaselessly, yet as Commonwealth of Letters shows, it left a long-lasting imprint at the final disposition of modernism and the evolution of postcolonial literature.
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Ideally, the English middle classes would mix their bustling energy with an equal measure of thoughtful repose, channeling their unfortunate propensity for self-satisfaction into a more enlightening stream of self-reflection. An equitable balance between a flexible intellect and a lively conscience would benefit us all, but Arnold does not see balance as a simple matter of harmonizing two different philosophies: these two forces we may regard as in some sense rivals,—rivals not by the necessity of their own nature, but as exhibited in man and his history,—and MODERNIST NETWORKS 17 rivals dividing the empire of the world between them.
Serious amateur cricketers, who once played for fun and upheld the code, are now being replaced by professionals, who play with the efficiency and ruthless determination of an employee, not an artist. The solution? James prescribes returning cricket to its proper place as a leisure activity, or better yet, rehabilitating it as a form of art, a medium of complex personal expression. The great player of the future, the individual who will break the armed truce of defensive play, “will be a man of intelligence with an imaginative approach.
Du Bois’s affirmations of African American music and folklore have much wider ramifications than his particular examples might suggest. By arguing that African Americans have a richer cultural heritage than their white counterparts, Du Bois gives later generations of minority writers a frame of reference in which they could assert their rights as artists, and in the process arming postcolonial theory with one of its most incisive weapons. 34 At the same time, however, this line of thought represents a slightly modified, and perhaps more powerful, theoretical elaboration of aesthetic autonomy more commonly associated with white modernism.