Modernism’s Roots

Organiser: Cedric Van Dijck (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Turning to writers such as Jack Spicer and Alan Hollinghurst, this panel explores the ways in which modernism (and metamodernism in the 1990s) gestured to the far-away past. What was the use of the past? What did (late or meta) modernist writers make of Ancient Greece, the Middle Ages and the Phoenician Adriatic? The panel is made up of three papers. Gennaro Ambrosino (Warwick University) discusses political reinterpretations of the Phoenicians’ remote past in modernist Italy. His case study reflects on the North Adriatic region in particular; it traces two conflicting narratives of the Phoenician past through the journalism and scholarship of Amy Bernardy, Bernardo Benussi and Emilio Frauer. Valentina Mele (University of Leeds) turns to the American poet Jack Spicer. She examines how medieval culture, especially the work of Dante, shaped Spicer’s definitions of ‘derivative’ or ‘passive’ poetic practice—as emblematised by the metaphor of the radio. In a final paper, Javid Aliyey (Istanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University) looks forward in time to the emergence of a meta-modernism in the 1990s. In gay novels by Alan Hollinghurst and Robert Glück, Aliyey argues, male protagonists can be viewed as modern versions of the ancient Greek pederastic erastai.


Javid Aliyev (Istanbul Yeni Yüzyıl University) – Monomaniacal Erastai in Metamodernist Gay Novels by Alan Hollinghurst and Robert Glück

Valentina Mele (University of Leeds) – «The Poet is a Radio»: Medieval Culture and ‘Dictated Poetry’ in the Work of Jack Spicer

Gennaro Ambrosino (University of Warwick) – Reinterpreting the Phoenician Past in Modernist Italy: The Case of the North Adriatic Sea (1890-1930)