Lisa Siraganian

in Modernism’s Other Work

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199796557
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932542 | DOI:

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This introduction defines key terms—air, framing, incorporation—to contextualize the debates about meaning, autonomy, and politics that structure the book, while also setting out a map of its chapters, complete with brief summaries. The chapter recounts how painterly discussions of collage enabled writers to think about the text’s frame as either excluding or including particulars of the reader’s world. Through pointed discussions of Wallace Stevens, Marcel Duchamp, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, and Michael Fried, we examine this new conception of aesthetic autonomy. The reader’s or viewer’s relation to the art object became a way to envision the political subject’s ideal relation to liberalism and the discourse of individual rights. In addition, this chapter incorporates discussions of theoretical texts by T. S. Eliot, Theodor Adorno, Peter Bürger, and others to distinguish the book’s account of modernism from canonical accounts that focus on post-structuralism and ideology critique.

Keywords: modernism; aesthetic autonomy; art objects; collage; breath; framing; political rights; Williams, William Carlos; Adorno, Theodor; Fried, Michael

Chapter.  8919 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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