[Msa-discuss] New Book Announcement --- Modernism and Subjectivity: How Modernist Fiction Invented the Postmodern Subject (Adam Meehan)

Meehan, Adam J. ameehan at palomar.edu
Wed Jun 3 12:56:32 EDT 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I’m very proud to announce that my first book, Modernism and Subjectivity: How Modernist Fiction Invented the Postmodern Subject, is available now from LSU Press:


I’ve included relevant information from the back of the book below.

Adam Meehan

“Adam Meehan’s Modernism and Subjectivity takes up perhaps the key theoretical problem of twentieth-century theory and traces its roots in modernist prose. Developing the increasingly accepted notion that literature thinks (see Nancy Armstrong, and Judith Butler)―that novels do theory―Meehan opens up the conversation so that we may begin at last to consider the intellectual contributions of modernist novels as vital precursors to late-century philosophical extensions of their elemental concerns. It’s an important book that will make a timely contribution to modernist studies.” -- Stephen Ross, editor of Modernism and Theory: A Critical Debate

“Meehan is right. The link between modernism and postmodernism is not one of historical succession but of ideological anticipation, both resting on the creation of a new mode of subjectivity. This wonderfully lucid account expands Lacanian approaches to literature while demonstrating the resilient impact of modernism on today’s cultural sphere.” -- Jean-Michel Rabaté, editor of A Handbook of Modernism Studies

In Modernism and Subjectivity: How Modernist Fiction Invented the Postmodern Subject, Adam Meehan argues that theories of subjectivity coming out of psychoanalytic, poststructuralist, and adjacent late­-twentieth-­century intellectual traditions had already been articulated in modernist fiction before 1945. Offering a bold new genealogy for literary modernism, Meehan finds versions of a postmodern subject embodied in works by authors who intently undermine attempts to stabilize conceptions of identity and who draw attention to the role of language in shaping conceptions of the self.

Focusing on the philosophical registers of literary texts, Meehan traces the development of modernist attitudes toward subjectivity, particularly in relation to issues of ideology, spatiality, and violence. His analysis explores a selection of works published between 1904 and 1941, beginning with Joseph Conrad’s prescient portrait of the subject interpolated by ideology and culminating with Samuel Beckett’s categorical disavowal of the subjective “I.” Additional close readings of novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, Nathanael West, and Virginia Woolf establish that modernist texts conceptualize subjectivity as an ideological and linguistic construction that reverberates across understandings of consciousness, race, place, and identity.

By reconsidering the movement’s function and scope, Modernism and Subjectivity charts how profoundly modernist literature shaped the intellectual climate of the twentieth century.

Adam Meehan
Associate Professor
Department of English & Humanities
Palomar College
ameehan at palomar.edu<mailto:ameehan at palomar.edu>
760-744-1150 Ex. 2723

Modernism and Subjectivity now available from LSU Press<https://lsupress.org/books/detail/modernism-and-subjectivity/>


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