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Modernism, Memory, and Desire


  • Page extent: 276 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.54 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 821.912
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PS3509.L43 Z7835 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Eliot, T. S.--(Thomas Stearns),--1888-1965--Criticism and interpretation
    • Woolf, Virginia,--1882-1941--Criticism and interpretation
    • Memory in literature
    • Desire in literature
    • Modernism (Literature)

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521877855)

T. S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf were almost exact contemporaries, readers and critics of each others' work, and friends for over twenty years. Their writings, though, are rarely paired. Modernism, Memory, and Desire proposes that some striking correspondences exist in Eliot and Woolf's poetic, fictional, critical, and autobiographical texts, particularly in their recurring turn to the language of desire, sensuality, and the body to render memory's processes. The book includes extensive archival research on some mostly unknown bawdy poetry by T. S. Eliot while offering readings of major work by both writers, including The Waste Land, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock', Orlando and To the Lighthouse. McIntire juxtaposes Eliot and Woolf with several major modernist thinkers of memory, including Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson and Walter Benjamin, to offer compelling reconsiderations of the relation between textuality, remembrance and the body in modernist literature.

• Was the first book to compare Woolf and Eliot directly • Includes major archival research on Eliot's bawdy poems and Woolf's private papers • Links discussions of sexuality with the importance of memory in modernist writing


Introduction; 1. An unexpected beginning: sex, race, and history in T. S. Eliot's Columbo and Bolo Poems; 2. Mixing memory and desire: rereading Eliot and the body of history; 3. Eliot, Eros, and desire: 'oh, do not ask, 'what is it?'; 4. T. S. Eliot: writing time and blasting memory; 5. Virginia Woolf, (auto)biography, and the Eros of memory: reading Orlando; 6. Other kinds of autobiographies: sketching the past, forgetting Freud, and reaching the Lighthouse; 7. Remembering what has 'almost already been forgotten:' where memory touches history; Epilogue.


Review of the hardback: '… absorbing, illuminating analysis of Eliot, Woolf, modernist memory and desire. … this study deserves a wide audience.' Mark Hussey, Editor, Woolf Studies Annual

Review of the hardback: '… an accomplished and intriguing piece of work [that] shows … the newness and vitality of Woolf's writings. … From now on, McIntire's own study will be part of the past essential to present studies into the temporality of modernism.' Charles Armstrong, University of Bergen, Norway

Review of the hardback: '… fascinating book … [a] searching inquiry into the erotics of memory.' Alec Marsh, Muhlenberg College, and Elisabeth Däumer, Eastern Michigan University

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