Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Glamorous (pre)occupations on the Left Bank: Hemingway and his contemporaries
by Heng, Tan Teck, M.A., National University of Singapore (Singapore), 2015, 150; 10006087
Abstract (Summary)

Celebrity studies have become a new focal point in modernist studies. Reasons for this interest are manifold: it connects autobiography and archival work with close-reading; it insists on an engagement with material contexts of literary production and distribution in our theorisations of modernism(s); and it reveals the porosity between problematic dichotomies such as high and low culture, and the literary and the non-literary. Finally, as one of many bridges between literary and cultural studies, it has the potential to allow modernist studies to travel beyond the turn of the twentieth century to the twenty-first, given the widespread nature of celebrity culture in mass media then and now.

Following the trajectory of scholars such as Phyllis Frus, Lawrence Rainey, Aaron Jaffe, Sean Latham, and Judith Brown, I study the convergence of journalism—as the space of print capitalism par excellence—and the celebrity writer in earlier twentieth century modernity. I have selected the work of Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, and Henry Miller as focal points. Their involvement with Left Bank journalism as correspondents and editors, their expatriation, and the plenitude of genres they utilise in their writing, provide invaluable connections between material contexts and aesthetic concerns. I trace developments in mass media—namely yellow journalism and the rise of tabloid newspapers, the creation and maintenance of segregated reading publics—and suggest that they are related to concurrent parallelisms in modernist works, which deployed similar tactics and genres. Such genres add the styles of sensationalism, voyeurism, and confession to the modernist aesthetic, while also dealing with the professional writer’s complicities with print capitalism.

Indexing (document details)
School: National University of Singapore (Singapore)
Department: English Language and Literature
School Location: Republic of Singapore
Source: DAI-A 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American literature
Keywords: Hemingway, Ernest, Miller, Henry, Orwell, George
Publication Number: 10006087
ISBN: 978-1-339-43949-5
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