Literary Criticism

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Henry Green at the Limits of Modernism


Marius Hentea is Assistant Professor of Literary Studies at Ghent University. His biography of Tristan Tzara is forthcoming (MIT Press).

Although Henry Green has been recognized by James Wood, David Lodge and John Updike as one of the most innovative writers of his time, his significant achievement remains largely neglected. Henry Green at the Limits of Modernism provides a theoretically sophisticated and historically nuanced reading of Green’s novels and makes the case for Green’s importance in reconsiderations of modernism, late modernism and post-war realism. This work is the most ambitious reassessment of Green’s oeuvre to date and thus critical reading for scholars interested in modernism, late modernism, and the evolution of British postwar fiction. Arguing against the predominant view of Green’s fiction as an autonomous literary construction, the work connects Green to a number of social and literary contexts, resulting in fresh readings of his novels and also a greater accessibility to an author long considered ‘oblique’ and ‘elusive’. With significant investigations of Green’s connection to his literary generation, his multifaceted and formally innovative handling of social class, his negotiations of narrative authority and authorship, and the importance of disability studies to understanding Green’s fiction, this study charts the complex trajectories of Green’s fiction against both social and literary contexts. The work also moves beyond the narrow confines of British literature to explore Green’s connections to broader trends in European literature.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-575-5
Hardback Price: £55.00 / $64.95
Release Date: November 2013
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-676-9
Paperback Price: £22.50 / $34.95
Release Date: September 2014
Page Extent / Format: 224 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No





Chapter One ‘Young and Old’: Generations and Belonging

Chapter Two Class Fictions

Chapter Three Sites of Authority

Chapter Four Sensing the Whole



Hentea is a sensitive and perceptive reader of Green, and the study's stated intention – to explore and examine the ways in which Green's writing acts as a bridge between high modernism, late modernism, postwar realism and postmodernism – is laudable, enticing, and full of promise.
Nick Shepley (University College London), Modernism/Modernity

Henry Green at the Limits of Modernism is a welcome exploration of a talented ‘second generation’ modernist author who has been relegated to the fringes and footnotes of modernism studies. This study functions equally well as an introduction to his works for those who have not had the pleasure of reading his challenging fiction and as a new look into his works for Green veterans. Either way, this book is sure to reinsert Green into the modernist conversation.
Barry Devine (University of Miami), English Literature in Transition

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