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Title: The British avant-garde : the theory and politics of tradition
Author: Guy, Josephine M.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1060 7293
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1990
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The aim of this thesis is to relocate the work of some late nineteenth-century British writers, including Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde and William Morris, within the history of the avantgarde. This is carried out in two ways. First, I examine and criticize on both theoretical and methodological grounds, current theories of the avant-garde, focusing particularly on the work of Renato Poggioli and Peter Burger. In their place I outline a new theory, based on some premisses derived from the philosophy of intellectual history, which attempts to establish the intellectual conditions which make avant-garde activities possible. In this new theory I argue that the politics of avant-garde movements are culturally and historically specific. I then use this theory to establish the conditions for avant-garde activity in late nineteenth-century Britain. This undertaking involves an examination of general intellectual developments which took place in Britain in the last quarter of the nineteenth century; more precisely, it entails describing the intellectual changes which took place in political economy, historiography and sociology, for I suggest that these changes, by problematizing concepts of society and of history, both made British avant-garde activity possible, and determined the forms it took. The second part of this thesis examines the work of the above mentioned writers - Pater, Morris and Wilde - in the context of these wider intellectual and cultural changes. I suggest that the subversive political implications - and hence the avant-gardism - of their work may only be properly assessed in such a context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available