Author: Urmila Seshagiri
Author info: Associate Professor of English
Publication Date: June 2010
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Synopsis: Race has long been recognized as a formative element of American modernism, but its role in England is less clearly understood. While critics have examined race in the works of British writers such as Kipling, Conrad, and Forster, they have done so mostly from a postcolonial perspective. In Race and the Modernist Imagination, Seshagiri finds that race–as a matter apart from imperialism–served as an engine for the creation of new literary forms by a wide range of writers, including Oscar Wilde, Ford Madox Ford, Katherine Mansfield, Rebecca West, and Virginia Woolf. In Seshagiri’s view, race provided these writers with a set of tropes and plots that rejuvenated the British aesthetic tradition: new ideas and fresh forms found their way into British literature through characters and settings that evoked other peoples, other places.