[Msa-discuss] New Book Announcement: Dynamic Form (Cara Lewis)
caralynnlewis at gmail.com
Wed Jul 15 11:23:46 EDT 2020
I'm delighted to announce that my new book, Dynamic Form: How
Intermediality Made Modernism, is officially out today from Cornell
University Press. Information about the book is below, and you or your
library can use the code 09FLYER on the Cornell UP site for 30% off the
All best wishes,
Dynamic Form traces how intermedial experiments shape modernist texts from
1900 to 1950. Considering literature alongside painting, sculpture,
photography, and film, Cara Lewis examines how these arts inflect narrative
movement, contribute to plot events, and configure poetry and memoir. As
forms and formal theories cross from one artistic realm to another and back
again, modernism shows its obsession with form---and even at times becomes
a formalism itself---but as Lewis writes, that form is far more dynamic
than we have given it credit for. Form fulfills such various functions that
we cannot characterize it as a mere container for content or matter, nor
can we consign it to ignominy opposite historicism or political commitment.
As a structure or scheme that enables action, form in modernism can be
plastic, protean, or even fragile, and works by Henry James, Virginia
Woolf, Mina Loy, Evelyn Waugh, and Gertrude Stein demonstrate the range of
form's operations. Revising three major formal paradigms---spatial form,
pure form, and formlessness---and recasting the history of modernist form,
this book proposes an understanding of form as a verbal category, as a kind
of doing. Dynamic Form thus opens new possibilities for conversation
between modernist studies and formalist studies and simultaneously promotes
a capacious rethinking of the convergence between literary modernism and
creative work in other media.
"Finally, the breakthrough---a book that really recognizes what modernist
artforms could do, for each other and for the wider world. Cara Lewis is
that uncommon scholar able to pursue an inspired idea through its most
challenging iterations; the result is a stellar set of revelations, a
brilliant new modernist panorama, and a book that is itself very finely
formed: well crafted, beautifully written, and truly a joy to read."
--Jesse Matz, Kenyon College, author of Modernist Time Ecology
"Despite the centrality of modernist conceptions of form in the history of
literary studies, recent formalist criticism has had relatively little to
say about modernism. Cara Lewis offers a powerful corrective to this
neglect, revealing a modernist vision of form that is vital and volatile.
This fantastic book is sure to reinvigorate discussions of modernism and
the possibilities of form."
--Brian Glavey, University of South Carolina, author of The Wallflower
"Dynamic Form is an impressive and persuasive piece of scholarship and
criticism, clear in its claims, cogent in its arguments, comprehensive in
its grasp of the critical debates around its textual exemplars, and lucid
in its prose."
--Michael Thurston, Smith College, author of The Underworld in the
"In this elegant, urgent book, Cara Lewis demonstrates how indispensable
the critical practice of historically sensitive formalism remains to
modernist studies today. Her nuanced readings of the affective and
aesthetic dynamics of intermediality demonstrate the stakes of attending to
the way modernist forms never stay still."
--David James, University of Birmingham, author of Discrepant Solace
Cara L. Lewis
Assistant Professor of English
Indiana University Northwest
caralynnlewis at gmail.com / lewiscar at iun.edu
Dynamic Form: How Intermediality Made Modernism
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