"H.G.Wells, Modernism, and Modernity" Special Session 2009 M/MLA Annual Convention
H.G. Wells was convinced that writing must communicate a direct social purpose and that its aesthetic qualities must be joined inextricably with it, which put him, necessarily, at odds with much of the Modernist aesthetics of the early 20th century (especially the idea of art for art's sake). And yet, Wells' rejection of certain aspects of emerging Modernism was not a disavowal of writing that concerns itself with beauty, truth, and pleasure (the realm of aesthetics); nor was it an implicit critique of aesthetic sensibility and its socio-historical significance. Rather, for Wells, to abstract the realm of the aesthetic from everyday life, from the here and now, was to make it largely irrelevant. This session seeks to situate various aspects of Wells' voluminous writing in relation to literary Modernism and the problems of modernity.
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Associate Professor of English
Director of Graduate Studies