[Msa-discuss] bells in modernism

agregor at uvic.ca agregor at uvic.ca
Sat Sep 24 12:17:56 EDT 2011

Hi Emma,

My suggestion about Plath's _The Bell Jar_ is not as obvious as it sounds.
First, it would mean that Plath is a modernist, and so you'd join the
group that feels that modernism is more a mode than a period; second, that
Plath is English either because she lived out there for a long time, or
because her work seems distinctly British (perhaps in its formality, form,
and intertextuality); finally, that any work in English is English or
Englishes, if your main topic is a trope, symbol, or specific allusion,
and therefore get some radically diverse productions around that topic if
you go transnational.

On a more traditional, but still painfully obvious, note: Eliot, "time and
the bell have buried the day" (Wasteland or 4 Quartets); and "hurry up now
it's time" (Wasteland; the "last call" bell in pubs in Britain); Woolf,
the Big Ben scene in Dalloway.

I'd suggest looking up "bell" in a Bible concordance (the King James is
English, right?). That might help with the Eliot. I'm often surprised at
what that concordance leads to; there is life beyond Eliot although I have
yet to experience it myself.


> Can anyone suggest works--English modernist poetry or prose--that feature
> bells as object or symbol? Thanks.
> Emma Stanford
> Middlebury College
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Ava Gregorian
Department of English
University of Victoria
PO Box 3070 STN CSC
Victoria BC V8W 3W1
(250) 589-9946

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