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Exterior Modernism: Evelyn Waugh and Cinema

LIU, YUEXI (2017) Exterior Modernism: Evelyn Waugh and Cinema. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Contributing to the dynamic debates in current modernist scholarship, particularly concerning the so-called interregnum between high modernism and postmodernism, exterior modernism refers to the work of a group of younger writers, such as Evelyn Waugh, Ernest Hemingway, Henry Green, Christopher Isherwood, Anthony Powell, Elizabeth Bowen, and Patrick Hamilton, whose departure from high modernism took the form of an ‘outward turn’ privileging exteriority over the interiority of consciousness through foregrounding talk and drawing on cinema, comedy, and satire. Relating their work to other exterior modernists, I focus mainly on Waugh by way of exemplification, considering his oeuvre, non-fiction as well as fiction. This thesis is the first book-length systematic study of Waugh’s relationship with cinema; such a relationship is crucial to the emergence and development of his exterior modernism. To illuminate Waugh’s exteriority, I develop an interdisciplinary framework, informed primarily by distributed cognition. Chapter One discusses Waugh’s first short story, ‘The Balance’ (1926), and his last comic novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957), to demonstrate a movement of circularity in Waugh’s fiction. Part One compares ‘The Balance’ with Woolf’s Jacob’s Room (1922), arguing that both writers turned to cinema in search of their unique literary voices. Part Two examines Pinfold’s successful rewriting of the early story by playing with the mind while remaining outside through dissociation. While Chapter Two reads Decline and Fall (1928) – Waugh’s debut novel that established his exterior modernism – as the novelistic equivalent to a Chaplin silent film, Chapter Three regards Waugh’s experimentation with talk in Vile Bodies (1930) – a group novel preoccupied with the group mind – as resonating with the coming of sound to cinema. Concentrating on Brideshead Revisited (1945), a heritage novel, and its afterlives in heritage film and television, Chapter Four investigates exterior modernism at mid-century, which solves the problem of interiority with a distributed sense of affectivity.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Modernist studies; Evelyn Waugh; literature and cinema; the outward turn; talk fiction; satire; comedy; the distributed/extended mind; the group mind; affect; objects and emotions; war; voices; dissociation; trauma; adaptation studies; radio; heritage; Catholicism; Henry Green; Christopher Isherwood; Virginia Woolf; Charlie Chaplin; Graham Greene
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Apr 2017 12:12

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