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The Medieval Presence in Modernist Literature
The Quest to Fail

$105.00 (C)

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107131484

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Jonathan Ullyot's The Medieval Presence in Modernist Literature rethinks the influence that early medieval studies and Grail narratives had on modernist literature. Through examining several canonical works, from Henry James' The Golden Bowl to Samuel Beckett's Molloy, Ullyot argues that these texts serve as a continuation of the Grail legend inspired by medieval scholarship of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rather than adapt the story of the Grail, modernist writers intentionally failed to make the Grail myth cohere, thus critiquing the way a literary work establishes its authority by alluding to previous traditions. While the quest to fail is a modernist ethic often misconceived as a pessimistic response to the collapse of traditional humanism, the modernist writings of Eliot, Kafka, and Céline posit that the possibility of redemption presents itself only when hope has finally been abandoned.

    • Considers canonical texts as employing medieval models and versions of the Grail narrative
    • Analyzes failure aesthetics within the context of modernist literature
    • Explores how the meaning of the Grail was radically reimagined by modernists
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107131484
    • dimensions: 236 x 158 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The Golden Bowl and the Holy Grail
    2. Jessie Weston and the mythical method of The Waste Land
    3. Kafka's Grail castle
    4. Céline's knight of the apocalypse
    5. Molloy or Le Conte du Graal.

  • Author

    Jonathan Ullyot, University of Chicago
    Jonathan Ullyot is a Lecturer in Humanities at the University of Chicago. His articles have appeared in such journals as Modern Philology, Comparative Literature, and German Quarterly.

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