Modernism, Eugenics, and the Revolt of the Masses
Modernism has many secrets—some might even call it a dark side. This dark side involves a stunningly elitist philosophy, a pro-imperial outlook, and in some cases, ardent support for eugenics policy. However, these subjects are rarely discussed in an adequate manner within university departments and popular academic settings. In fact, many leading twentieth century Modernists have become darlings of academia. While the dark and dour outlook of Modernism is often noticeable with even the most cursory reading of a Modernist work, the nature and source of this darkness is seldom investigated as a conscious object of attention. This is not the case with literary critic John Carey and his book, The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice Among the Literary Intelligentsia 1880-1939.
In this episode of the New Lyre Podcast, Adam Sedia and David Gosselin discuss John Carey's provocative thesis on the roots of Modernism and how such a thesis might help lovers of timeless art and poetry to better understand some of the fundamental issues still holding back the world of twenty-first century art and poetry.