[Msa-discuss] new book announcement

Solomon, William wsolomon at buffalo.edu
Fri Jul 22 14:18:41 EDT 2016


Dear Colleagues:

I would like to announce the publication of my new book.

Slapstick Modernism: Chaplin to Kerouac to Iggy Pop

(University of Illinois Press)

This book examines the impact of silent (and sound) screen comedy on 
modernist literature over the course of the twentieth century. Its 
initial focus is on the 1910s and 20s when the two cultural practices 
coexisted as complementary responses to the rise of urban-industrial 
modernity. Adopting a triangular critical perspective, its initial 
argument is that the motion-picture genre and experimental writing are 
most profitably understood at this stage of their respective 
developments as historically adjacent attempts to solve problems endemic 
to the socioeconomic conditions of existence in this era. The study then 
goes on to chart the subsequent rise of a slapstick modernism, defined 
as a fusion of artistic inventiveness and cinematic madness, from the 
Depression-era novels of Céline and Gombrowicz to the work of the Beats 
and American black humorists (and underground filmmakers) in the 50s and 
60s. One of the investigation’s primary theoretical touchstones is the 
anthropological materialism of Walter Benjamin, his concepts of 
“innervation” and “second technology” illuminating key aspects of the 
phenomenon in question.

Here is the link the University of Illinois Press website:
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/69tqp2zz9780252040245.html


William Solomon
Associate Professor
Department of English
University at Buffalo


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