In Modernism and Cultural Conflict, Ann Ardis questions commonly held views of the radical nature of literary modernism. She positions the coterie of writers centered around Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and James Joyce among a number of groups in Britain intent on redefining the cultural work of literature at the turn of the twentieth century. Ardis emphasizes the ways in which these modernists secured their cultural centrality by documenting their support of mainstream attitudes toward science, their retreat from a supposed valuing of scandalous sexuality in the wake of Oscar Wilde's trials in 1895, and the conservative cultural and sexual politics masked by their radical formalist poetics. Recovering key instances of opposition to modernist self-fashioning in British socialism and feminism of the period, Ardis considers how literary modernism's rise to aesthetic prominence paved the way for the institutionalization of English studies through the devaluation of other aesthetic practices.
ANN L. ARDIS is Professor of English and Director of the University Honors Program at the University of Delaware. She is the author of New Women, New Novels: Feminism and Early Modernism (1990) and coeditor (with Bonnie Kime Scott) of Virginia Woolf Turning the Centuries: Selected Papers from the Ninth Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf (2000) and (with Leslie Lewis) of Women's Experience of Modernity, 187 (2002).