Sciences of Modernism: Ethnography, Sexology, and Psychology by Paul Peppis

By Paul Peppis

Sciences of Modernism examines key issues of touch among British literature and the human sciences of ethnography, sexology, and psychology on the sunrise of the 20th century. The booklet is split into sections that pair exemplary medical texts from the interval with literary ones, charting quite a few collaborations and competitions happening among technology and early modernist literature. Paul Peppis investigates this trade via shut readings of literary works by means of Claude McKay, E. M. Forster, Mina Loy, Rebecca West, and Wilfred Owen along technology books by means of Alfred Haddon, Havelock Ellis, Marie Stopes, Bernard Hart, and William Brown. In so doing, Peppis exhibits how those competing disciplines participated within the formation and consolidation of modernism as a extensive cultural circulate throughout a number of severe discourses. His learn will curiosity scholars and students of the historical past of technological know-how, literary modernism, and English literature extra largely.

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M. Forster, 1921 (King’s College Library, Cambridge, EMF/27/330) Salvage Ethnography, Cultural Cross-Dressing, and Autoethnography 35 culture of Western civilization. ” Yet the missionaries’ decision – which Haddon heartily approves – to allow the women to wear traditional garb when not attending church tellingly limits their crossing over to civilization. In Haddon’s amused and approving portrayal, the women doff Western garments as soon as they leave church, signifying (or so he implies – and hopes) their reentry into traditional culture.

For the most part, Haddon’s cultural cross-dressing maintains distance from indigenous rites and rituals, never appearing seriously to risk the nativization that undoes Jellaludin and Kurtz. But a few passages record deeper, more intensive, riskier modes of participation in savage cultures, disclosing identifiably modernist perceptions of cultural and temporal contact and incommensurability. Because so much of Haddon’s account is spent lamenting modernity’s conquest of indigeneity and detailing efforts to salvage savagery by cajoling Christianized natives to reenact rites nearly forgotten, it comes as something of a surprise when the text veers into what Stocking describes as “the temporal context in which modern ethnography is normally situated: the vague and essentially atemporal moment” now called the “ethnographic present” (54).

There is no glory, no independence, nothing to be proud of – except a church built on contract. Fishing is mainly practised to gain money to purchase the white man’s goods and the white man’s food. The dull and respectable uniformity of modern civilisation has gripped these poor people. (145–46) The quotation’s vivid contrast between a rich and feeling savagery and a dull and degrading modernity exposes a common late-Victorian disgust with modern industrial society while indulging primitivist idealizations of noble savagery widespread since Romanticism.

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