Inhospitable Modernisms: The Ecological Value of Modernist Alienation

Project Details


INMODERN analyses the depiction of inhospitable environments in the works of four modernist authors – James Joyce (1882-1941), Jean Rhys (1890-1979), Nella Larsen (1891-1964), and Djuna Barnes (1892-1982). The project will link modernist alienation to the concept of inhospitality, considered as both social exclusion and environmental hostility. Drawing on recent scholarship in modernist studies, literary theory, and the environmental humanities, INMODERN will demonstrate how modernist alienation is not simply an existential condition but an effect of various kinds of oppression contributing to the creation of social and natural inhospitable environments. The project claims that literary modernism’s unique archive of feelings (i.e. frustration, disaffection, hesitation...) is essential in uncovering the estrangement of certain categories of individuals from social contexts and broader environments. By focusing on the ways in which characters at the fringe of society adapt to and struggle with an inhospitable world, INMODERN will highlight the challenges often entailed in the interaction between subjects and broader environments and will assess the relevance of modernism and modernity in the context of the present-day ecological crisis. INMODERN broadens the current discourse on resilience and sustainability, looking back at the early twentieth century as a time of pivotal change in which today’s generalized ecological crisis started to take shape. By showing how natural, social, and individual ecologies are interconnected, the project will develop an important framework to rethink issues of development, progress, and adaptability.
Effective start/end date3/10/2231/01/25


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