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Title: Books for the morning-room table : popular readings of British modernism, 1920-1929
Author: Mahood, Aurelea Denise
ISNI:       0000 0000 4971 8639
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis examines the presentation of modernism to mainstream (or non-specialist) readers in England during the 1920s. My research attempts to answer how and why modernism migrated from Blast to Vogue to become, in the words of Raymond Mortimer, 'the new fixed forms of our present moment'. I do this through an analysis of the critical incorporation and commercial assimilation of modernism as played out in three women's magazines The Queen, Vogue and Time and Tide published in Britain between the First and Second World Wars. I look at the networks of writers, publications, editors, reviewers and readers that contribute to the institutional framework central to modernism's critical reception and subsequent interpretation. The thesis takes the form of a series of case studies divided into two parts. Section I provides historical background on each magazine followed by an analysis of relevant commentary on the visual arts, architecture, interior design, society reports and fashion coverage. Section II assesses the book reviews and literary essays that appeared in all three magazines, including comparisons with material found in publications such as the Times Literary Supplement and The Criterion. In cataloguing and analysing the popularisation of modernism and its practitioners in The Queen, Vogue and Time and Tide, I make use of recent scholarship on fashion, celebrity, symbolic capital and the material conditions of literary production. Proceeding from the assumption that literature is both historically and culturally situated, I argue that these magazines not only offer evidence of modernism's implication in the larger cultural and social discourses of the mainstream, but confirm the ideological work that a popular cultural venue can perform in the dissemination of 'difficult' art to non-specialist audiences. Both during and after the 1920s, we should not conceive of modernism as solely appreciated by 'restricted' or highbrow audiences. As I argue, modernism's modernity and its commitment to aesthetic experimentation emerge as the basis of its appeal whether consumed by 'restricted' or 'unrestricted' audiences. This retelling of the history of modernism expands the boundaries previously assigned to its critical and popular reception, while simultaneously affirming the long-standing and productive affiliation between modernism and mainstream literary culture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available