Chapter 8. Early Literary Modernism

  1. John T. Matthews Professor
  1. Andrew Lawson

Published Online: 5 MAY 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9781444310726.ch8

A Companion to the Modern American Novel 1900-1950

A Companion to the Modern American Novel 1900-1950

How to Cite

Lawson, A. (2009) Early Literary Modernism, in A Companion to the Modern American Novel 1900-1950 (ed J. T. Matthews), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444310726.ch8

Editor Information

  1. Boston University, USA

Author Information

  1. School of Cultural Studies, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 MAY 2009
  2. Published Print: 3 APR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631206873

Online ISBN: 9781444310726



  • early literary modernism;
  • testing of character under pressures of environment and circumstance;
  • “age of realism” - wholesale renegotiation of contract between author and reader;
  • The Golden Bowl - depicting world where sexual and commercial values;
  • “dreamy irony” - “picturesque” or else vaguely threatening;
  • Twain's target - romantic Southern discourse of “aristocracy” paternalism and “chivalry”;
  • Huck's friendship with slave Jim - relationship with complex mixture of condescension, affection, pleasure, and dread;
  • “real” - inner life of emotions/responsibilities of social existence


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Henry James

  • William Dean Howells

  • Mark Twain

  • Stephen Crane

  • Edith Wharton

  • Theodore Dreiser

  • References and Further Reading