Original Research

The real(modern)ist novel

H. Eid
Literator | Vol 20, No 2 | a460 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v20i2.460 | © 1999 H. Eid | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 April 1999 | Published: 26 April 1999

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H. Eid, Department of English, Vista University (Soweto), Bertsham, South Africa

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Abstract

This article aims to argue that the distinction in both meaning and social function between “realism” and “modernism” lies in their different positions in the economic system of capitalism. The focus point of the article is “modernism” as the cultural logic of monopoly, imperialist capitalism - a logic that never meant a “break away” from “realism”. The article's dialectical and historical approach to James Joyce's modern text A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man never accepts the internal modernist logic of the text, i.e. the complete autonomy of a work of art.

Drawing on Fredric Jameson’s hermeneutics of ideology and Edward Said’s dialectical criticism, the article focuses on the ideological components of A Portrait and will explore its modernity in relation to the political economy of the world that has produced it. Moreover, it will show how A Portrait, as a modernist text, has affiliations with wider fields of power and action.


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