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Aesthetic Afterlives: Irony, Literary Modernity and the Ends by Andrew Eastham

By Andrew Eastham

because the improvement of British Aestheticism within the 1870s, the concept that of irony has centred a sequence of anxieties that are indispensable to fashionable literary perform. studying probably the most vital debates in post-Romantic aesthetics via hugely concentrated textual readings of authors from Walter Pater and Henry James to Samuel Beckett and Alan Hollinghurst, this research investigates the dialectical place of irony in Aestheticism and its twentieth-century afterlives.

Aesthetic Afterlives constructs a far-reaching theoretical narrative by means of positioning Victorian Aestheticism because the foundation of Literary Modernity. Aestheticism’s cultivation of irony and reflexive detachment used to be relevant to this legacy, however it was once additionally the point of interest of its personal self-critique. Anxieties in regards to the inspiration and perform of irony continued via Modernism, and feature lately been located in Hollinghurst’s paintings as a symptom of the political stasis inside post-modern tradition. relating the new debates in regards to the ‘new aestheticism’ and the politics of aesthetics, Eastham asks how a utopian Aestheticism will be reconstructed from the problematics of irony and aesthetic autonomy that haunted writers from Pater to Adorno.

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