Modernist novels emerged as a reaction against modernity but, in their focus on inner consciousness, captured the experience of living life like never before. American writer and critic Michael Clune picks five of the best modernist novels from 1936 up to 2013. Modernist literature is still with us, he explains, because what it was reacting against is still with us.
Where to start with the novels of the American writer William Faulkner, chronicler of the Old South and winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature? Here, Faulkner scholar Ahmed Honeini of Royal Holloway, University of London, recommends the best books by and about the man who tried to capture “the agony and sweat of the human spirit”.
by Franz Kafka (ed. and translated by Stanley Corngold)
by Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka: The Office Writings
by Franz Kafka (ed. Stanley Corngold, Jack Greenberg, and Benno Wagner)
Kafka's Selected Stories
by Franz Kafka
Kafka: The Early Years
by Reiner Stach & Shelley Frisch (trans.)
“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin”—Kafka, The Metamorphosis. This is one of the most famous opening lines in all of world literature, but how ‘Kafkaesque’ was Franz Kafka? What are our misconceptions about his life and work? Professor Stanley Corngold, one of the most influential Kafka scholars, introduces us to an “athlete of anguish”.
What’s at stake when we call a building beautiful or denounce it as ugly? MIT professor Timothy Hyde, author of Ugliness and Judgment, explores five books about the social, political and economic dimensions behind debates that often masquerade as arguments about style, but which deal with matters at the very heart of civil society.
Although less flamboyantly experimental than his contemporaries Joyce and Woolf, D H Lawrence was a modernist, says literary scholar Catherine Brown. Here, she selects five books that make the case for this most contradictory, and often divisive, of writers—a man whose fictions and ‘philosophicalish’ works were by turns brilliant and bewildering, sublime and ridiculous
Is it possible to describe or study our inner experience, and – if so – how might one go about it? Charles Fernyhough, professor of psychology and author of The Voices Within chooses five of the best books that employ or examine streams of consciousness.
Virginia Woolf was long dismissed as a ‘minor modernist’ but now stands as one of the giants of 20th century literature. Her biographer, Hermione Lee, talks us through the novels, essays, and diaries of Virginia Woolf.
The Belle Epoque combined a preoccupation with the noblesse of the old regime with the seeds for modernism, says Oxford history professor Ruth Harris, author of an award-winning book on the Dreyfus affair. She picks the best books on a golden period in France before the outbreak of World War I.
Paris in the 1920s was a creative melting pot, the haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. The Yale English professor gives us a feel for what it was like to be there
F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, set during a hedonistic zenith before the Great Depression, has fresh appeal today as we face down our own crisis, says the professor of American literature