Chapter

Between the Acts

Catherine Driscoll

in Modernist Cultural Studies

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034249
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038421 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813034249.003.0007
Between the Acts

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It seems almost not worth remarking that modernity presupposes a relation to history — after all, a historicizing claim is built into the very concept of modernity. The term suggests that what modernism foregrounds in the experience and representation of modernity is a new historicity, a new temporality. This chapter sketches a complex array of modernist accounts of history and time rather than reprise well-known critical conversations about the belatedness of modernism and the further belatedness of postmodernism. It turns to some of the conceptual foundations of modernism with a view to finding there the conditions for cultural studies' particular relations to history and the present. The chapter takes Virginia Woolf 's last novel, Between the Acts (1941), as a starting point for considering how modernist ideas about history and temporality formed not only the necessary conditions for modernist experimentation, but for the emphasis on critique of the contemporary world that dominates cultural studies as well.

Keywords: Virginia Woolf; modernism; Between the Acts; cultural studies; modernity; history; time; postmodernism; temporality

Chapter.  9646 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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