Comparative Modernisms

Comparative Modernisms
Date
25 June 2018, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Type
Seminar
Venue
Room G3, Ground Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Description

TITLE: MODERNIST PUBLISHING AND COLONIALISM: COLLABORATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS

Professor Anna Snaith, Kings College London University

‘Introducing Mulk Raj Anand: the colonial politics of collaboration’

Professor Jeanette McVicker, State University of New York at Fredonia

 ‘Modernist (re)framings and white mythologies: Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon and Lynching in America’

Professor Anna Snaith, Kings College London University

‘Introducing Mulk Raj Anand: the colonial politics of collaboration’

Abstract

 Collaboration is often understood as central to modernist literary production. The recent turn to a transnational or globalised understanding of modernism has made consideration of collaborations across races and cultures all the more pressing. This paper attends to the colonial politics of a particular kind of collaboration by exploring the introductions written by white, male, metropolitan modernists to texts by colonial authors. I focus initially on introductions by Ford Madox Ford, Arthur Symons, Edmund Gosse and W. B. Yeats to texts by Jean Rhys, Sarojini Naidu and Rabindranath Tagore, before considering in more detail the prefaces written by E. M. Forster and Leonard Woolf to writing by Mulk Raj Anand (Untouchable, 1935 and Letters on India, 1942). By putting pressure on the term ‘collaboration’ itself – and the frequent slippage to ‘collaborationist’ in relation to scholarship on Anand – this paper will investigate the oft-overlooked genre of the introduction to ask questions crucial to the wider study of global modernisms. It will tease out the complex relationships, networks, and publishing histories signalled by this conjunction of introduction and text. These prefatory texts are marked by imperial gestures of cultural patronage, framing and mediation but are also the very place where these gestures and hierarchies are contested and overturned. 

 

Professor Anna Snaith teaches Twentieth-Century Literature at King’s College University of LondonHer publications include Modernist Voyages: Colonial Women Writers in London (Cambridge University Press, 2014), an edition of Virginia Woolf's The Years for the Cambridge University Press Edition of the Works of Virginia Woolf (2012) and of A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas for Oxford World's Classics (2015). She is currently working on a project on interwar modernism and noise, and is editing a volume on Literature and Sound for CUP.

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Professor Jeanette McVicker, State University of New York at Fredonia

“Modernist (re)framings and white mythologies: Zora Neale Hurston’s Barracoon and Lynching in America”

Abstract

 Celebrating the May publication of Barracoon: the Story of the Last ‘Black Cargo,’ (Barnes & Noble, 2018) Zora Neale Hurston’s non-fiction recounting of the life of Oluale Kossola – thought to be the last survivor who had come to America on the last slave ship, the Clotilda – reminds us yet again of ‘what white publishers won’t print’ (the subject of one of Hurston’s most important short essays, published in Negro Digest, 1950). Hurston completed the Barracoon manuscript in 1931 but no publisher would take it, ostensibly because of its use of dialect and complex subject matter; it has thus languished in Howard University’s archives until now. Juxtaposing the multiple temporalities of this narrative with the opening earlier this year of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama – a museum sponsored by the Equal Justice Initiative and dedicated to the nearly 4,500 lynching victims of white supremacy in America between 1877 and 1950 – provides additional layers of context for exploring the modernist (re)framings of 19th century colonialism, slavery and imperialism, and the ongoing legacies of what Robert Young nearly 30 years ago termed the ‘white mythologies’ that shape how we write, read and think about history and ‘the west.’

Professor Jeanette McVicker teaches global literatures, women's and gender studies, contemporary theory and journalism at the State University of New York at Fredonia. She is a member of the Woolf Studies Annual editorial board, and co-edited two volumes of Selected Papers from the Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf, with Laura Davis. McVicker has contributed to various collections on Woolf, including Virginia Woolf and the Literary Marketplace (Ed. J. Dubino), Palgrave Advances in Virginia Woolf Studies (ed. A. Snaith), and MLA Approaches to Teaching To the Lighthouse (Eds. B. Daugherty & M. Pringle) as well as last year's Selected Papers: Virginia Woolf and Heritage (Eds. J. de Gay, T. Breckin & A. Reus) In addition to Woolf and modernism, McVicker's work has appeared most recently in essays addressing youth participation and democracy in Postcolonial Studies (2014); the war on terror, journalism and philosophy in Philosophy Today (2012), and an essay exploring the legacy of her mentor, Williams V. Spanos, in a special issue of boundary 2 (2015). Her contemporary research is exploring how the fields of archaeology and geography contributed to a modernist reworking of subjectivity expressed in literature, feminism, journalism and (post-)imperialism.






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