A Sense of Shock

  • Adam Parkes
  • August 2011, Oxford University Press (OUP)
  • DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383812.001.0001

What is it about?

This book considers the impact of ideas about impressionism on modern British and Irish writing. Usually associated with painting, the term "impressionism" functions in a wide variety of ways in modern literature, often drawing attention to a work's significance within a particular social and political context. I trace some of these interactions between impressionist text and context in authors from Pater, Ruskin, George Moore, and Wilde to Conrad, Ford, Woolf, and Bowen.

Why is it important?

This book broadens our understanding of impressionism's place in modernism by examining authors not typically associated with the movement (Wilde, Wells, Moore, Bowen) alongside more familiar names. It links impressionism to major developments in modern history such as nationalism, feminism, anarchism, and terrorism. Exploring literary impressionism's relations to such contexts, it considers also how impressionism challenges us to reimagine what it means to think historically about literature.

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