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Lateness and Modern European Literature$
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Ben Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767695.001.0001

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Lateness as ‘Hollowing Out’: Thomas Mann, Ernst Bloch, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence

Lateness as ‘Hollowing Out’: Thomas Mann, Ernst Bloch, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence

(p.274) 15 Lateness as ‘Hollowing Out’: Thomas Mann, Ernst Bloch, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence
Lateness and Modern European Literature

Ben Hutchinson

Oxford University Press

If Adorno gives theoretical expression to the process of ‘hollowing out’ that characterizes modernism as that which is ‘obsolete in modernity’, Chapter 15 traces manifestations of this process across modernist literature. After looking back to Chateaubriand and Nietzsche, the chapter moves forward through close readings of passages from Thomas Mann’s Dr Faustus, Ernst Bloch’s Heritage of Our Times, T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Hollow Men’, Wyndham Lewis’ Tarr and Men without Art, and D.H. Lawrence’s letters, before returning to Paul Valéry’s Cahiers for a final reading of late style as ‘animate hollowness’. If Valéry sketches out something like a via negativa of late style—understanding it as what was never there, rather than what is no longer there—the category of hollowness resonates throughout modernism; the analysis pursued in this chapter suggests that aesthetic late style, through what Bloch terms its ‘sparks’, can offer a constructive means of response to cultural lateness.

Keywords:   hollowing out, late style, modernism, Thomas Mann, Ernst Bloch, T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, D.H. Lawrence, Paul Valéry

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