ASense of Shock

The Impact of Impressionism on Modern British and Irish Writing

by

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780195383812
  • 9780199741946
What does modern British and Irish literature have to do with French impressionist painting? And what does Henry James have to do with the legal dispute between John Ruskin and J.M.W. Whistler? What links Walter Pater with Conrad's portrait of a genocidal maniac in Heart of Darkness? Or George Moore with Irish nationalism, Virginia Woolf with modern distraction, and Ford Madox Ford with the Great Depression?Adam Parkes argues that we must answer such questions if we are to appreciate the full impact of impressionist aesthetics on modern British and Irish writers. Complicating previous accounts of the influence of painting and philosophy on literary impressionism, A Sense of Shock highlights the role of politics, uncovering new and deeper linkages. In the hands of such practitioners as Conrad, Ford, James, Moore, Pater, and Woolf, literary impressionism was shaped by its engagement with important social issues and political events that defined the modern age. As Parkes demonstrates, the formal and stylistic practices that distinguish impressionist writing were the result of dynamic and often provocative interactions between aesthetic and historical factors.Parkes ultimately suggests that it was through this incendiary combination of aesthetics and history that impressionist writing forced significant change on the literary culture of its time. A Sense of Shock will appeal to students and scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, as well as the growing readership for books that explore problems of literary history and interdisciplinarity.
  • Oxford University Press; June 2010
  • ISBN 9780199741946
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: ASense of Shock
  • Author: Adam Parkes
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780195383812
  • 9780199741946

In The Press

"A Sense of Shock is, as its title suggests, a bold, inevitable book. Never before has literary impressionism been dissected with such precision and-even more dazzlingly-such imagination. The connections between this too-often slighted art and its historical circumstances (anarchism, terrorism, nationalism, feminism, homosexuality) are shown to end nowhere, making it impossible to conceive of impressionism merely as an aesthetic procedure. Adam Parkes is as robust, as myriad-minded, as his subject, and he has written a book not just for scholars, not just for writers, but for anyone interested in language as an ongoing force in our lives." --James Longenbach
"Parkes writes with a pleasingly crisp and authoritative style. A Sense of Shock makes a decisive intervention in this developing field of studies of literary impressionism, and an excellent contribution to the literary history of the period." --Max Saunders, King's College London
"Parkes' wide-ranging, revealing study of literary impressionism from Ruskin, Pater, and James through Elizabeth Bowen explores the place of history and politics within impressionism and of impressionism within history. His footnotes provide an encyclopedic education about the critical discourse on impressionism, and his illuminating chapters establish the revisionary perspective: that the inward turn, rather than denying the significance of history, regularly invites us to understand impressionism as historically embedded and engaged in a dialectic of public and private, context and text, non-literary and literary, political and aesthetic. A Sense of Shock sheds new light on a crucial strand of literary modernism." --John Paul Riquelme, Boston University
"Expansive, ambitious." --Woolf Studies Annual
"An incisive and engaging intervention into the study of literary impressionism...An illuminating monograph about the historicity of impressionism that should prove extrememly useful for literary - especially modernist - scholars." --Journal of British Studies

About The Author

Adam Parkes is Professor of English at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Modernism and the Theater of Censorship and Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day: A Reader's Guide.

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780195383812
  • 9780199741946