Lateness as ‘Hollowing Out’: Thomas Mann, Ernst Bloch, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence

Ben Hutchinson

in Lateness and Modern European Literature

Published in print August 2016 | ISBN: 9780198767695
Published online October 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191821578 | DOI:
Lateness as ‘Hollowing Out’: Thomas Mann, Ernst Bloch, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence

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If Adorno gives theoretical expression to the process of ‘hollowing out’ that characterizes modernism as that which is ‘obsolete in modernity’, Chapter 15 traces manifestations of this process across modernist literature. After looking back to Chateaubriand and Nietzsche, the chapter moves forward through close readings of passages from Thomas Mann’s Dr Faustus, Ernst Bloch’s Heritage of Our Times, T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’, Wyndham Lewis’ Tarr and Men without Art, and D.H. Lawrence’s letters, before returning to Paul Valéry’s Cahiers for a final reading of late style as ‘animate hollowness’. If Valéry sketches out something like a via negativa of late style—understanding it as what was never there, rather than what is no longer there—the category of hollowness resonates throughout modernism; the analysis pursued in this chapter suggests that aesthetic late style, through what Bloch terms its ‘sparks’, can offer a constructive means of response to cultural lateness.

Keywords: hollowing out; late style; modernism; Thomas Mann; Ernst Bloch; T.S. Eliot; Wyndham Lewis; D.H. Lawrence; Paul Valéry

Chapter.  7431 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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