Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Academic journal article Mosaic (Winnipeg)

Introduction

Article excerpt

Even my New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought betrays some ambivalence about the meaning of "modernity." The book (which does not include an entry on its title word "modern") defines "modernity" as a term "sometimes used to refer simply to recent times," but increasingly to denote "a phase in societal development"; also "sometimes seen as dating from the Enlightenment of 17th and 18th century Europe, sometimes from the development of industrial society in the 19th century" (540). A similarly fluid "modernity" emerges from this issue, not as a term defined but as significant nonetheless to the discussion undertaken in at least three of the following essays. In "Hiding in Plain Sight: Problems of Modernist Self-Representation in the Encounter Between Adolf Loos and Josephine Baker," for instance, Christina Svendsen remarks that Das Andere, or The Other, the journal founded by Loos, "performs an exhortatory celebration of modernity." At the same time, for Loos, "modernity is a fragmented, diachronic space inhabited by individuals from vastly different time periods who can nonetheless cross paths with one another and even communicate--albeit with predictable misunderstandings and conflicts." Working through a number of sources in "Realism and the Discursive Dynamics of the Popular Periodical, 1900-1930," Janet G. Casey mentions modernity's "alienating effects," advertising's "paradoxical role 'as both apostle of modernity and buffer against the effects of modern impersonalities of scale,'" and the camera, with its supposed objectivity, "'as one of modernity's most powerful emblems of the subjectivity of perception and of knowledge.'"

And what of modernity and melancholia? Banu Helvacioglu's "Melancholy and Huzun in Orhan Pamuk's Istanbul" adding to the diversity of this issue's "modernity," suggests that "Pamuk yields to the depressive mood of melancholy/huzun, but at the same time, by contemplating his mood in an aesthetic and historical context, he transforms collectively experienced resignation into a creative endeavour to understand the specific historicity and spatiality of Istanbul. …

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