Literary Impressionism and Modernist Aesthetics

Synopsis

Matz examines the writing of such modernists as James, Conrad and Woolf, who used the word "impression" to describe what they wanted their fiction to present. Matz argues that these writers did not favor immediate subjective sense, but rather a mode that would mediate perceptual distinctions. Just as impressions fall somewhere between thought and sense, impressionist fiction occupies the middle ground between opposite ways of engaging with the world. This study addresses the problems of perception and representation that occupied writers in the early decades of the twentieth century.