Reactionary Modernism

Robert L. Caserio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


If we think of prominent modernists who involve politics with their literary art, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf come to mind; so do George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells, who merit inclusion in surveys of modernism. Shaw and Wells propagandized for a socialist world order; Pound proselytized for Mussolini's Italian fascism; Yeats positioned himself as an Irish nationalist to the left of British imperialists; Woolf undermined patriarchy in all its economic and political manifestations. It is a significant fact about "reactionary" modernists - especially the male ones - that their work constellates mystical or religious feeling with fierce criticism of "democracy" and with conflict-laden assessments of "active men". The mystical dimension, this chapter suggests, ultimately counterweights or undermines the writers' investment in fascism, but it appears to dispose most commentators, rightly or wrongly, to treat it reductively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Handbook of Modernism Studies
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780470658734
StatePublished - Mar 17 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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