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Durham University

Department of English Studies


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Publication details for Professor Patricia Waugh

Waugh, Patricia (2016). Precarious Voices: Moderns, Moods, and Moving Epochs. In Moving Modernisms: Motion, Technology, and Modernity. Bradshaw, David, Marcus, Laura & Roach, Rebecca Oxford: Oxford University Press. 191-216.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter takes up questions of ‘‘moods and voices’ in the modern British novel. In its focus on ‘moving epochs’ it also offers a critique of literary periodization and of approaches to modernist literature and culture which have rendered the rich and complex novels of the mid-twentieth century merely an ‘after modernism’: the texts of this period, it is argued, are too often misunderstood or diminished. It points in particular to the ‘distributed’ exposition of mind, through a broadly phenomenological grasp of the structures of experience, running throughout the fiction of the twentieth century from Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, and William Faulkner onwards. Many of the most compelling novels of the 1950s (including work by Muriel Spark, William Sansom, William Golding, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett) employed expressionist techniques, born of phenomenological insights, to imagine worlds that reflect disturbed minds and alienated outsiders.

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