This short introduction to modernism analyses the movement from the perspective of English and American literature. It provides a critical overview of some of the central texts of literary modernism, considering both established works and those that have only recently come to critical attention. Author David Ayers shows that, however diverse modernist texts are, they are linked by concerns about social modernization and the role of art and the artist. He also demonstrates that German Marxism and French deconstruction have been crucial in realizing the full complexity of modernism. Ayers's arguments are illustrated with reference to the works of T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence, Wallace Stevens, H. D., Nancy Cunard, Wyndham Lewis and Mina Loy, among others.
David Ayers is Senior Lecturer in English and American Literature and Director of the Centre for Modern Poetry at the University of Kent. He is the author of Wyndham Lewis and Western Man (1992) and English Literature of the 1920s (1999).