A Modernist FantasyForthcoming in 2018
A Modernist Fantasy:
Modernism, Anarchism, & the Radical Fantastic

James Gifford

ELS 111. 292 pp. ISBN 978-1-55058-393-9
(Kindle 978-1-55058-628-2)

Is it possible for the elite criticism of the new modernist studies to engage with devotees of popular culture and fantasy fiction? Can the faeries and dragons of the bestseller lists talk shop with the coteries and little magazines of high modernism? What if their conversation was about anarchism? What surprising fellowship would that trilogy make? Such a dialogue would question root assumptions in all three areas and unearth a legacy of politically radical and formally experimental modernist fantasy fiction, a red thread running from the 1890s to the 1970s.

The recuperation of that lost tradition is as important as revising the critical traditions that excluded it from the start. The exclusion of fantasy fiction written by modernists like Hope Mirrlees and John Cowper Powys challenges how we understand modernism itself. The endless definitions of genre and rhetorics in fantasy and science fiction are also transformed here by modernist studies, as a catalyst. In both stances, anarchist critical and artistic praxis conjures a pathway to flexible new links between fields and ideas. Scholars and students of literary modernism, popular culture, critical & cultural theory, and anarchism will find a provocative challenge in A Modernist Fantasy.

JAMES GIFFORD is Associate Professor in the School of the Humanities at Fairleigh Dickinson University Vancouver Campus. He has published several books, critical editions, and articles on modernism and anarchism. His most recent projects include Personal Modernisms: Anarchist Networks & the Later Avant-Gardes (2014) and From the Elephant's Back (2015).

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The Three Clerks

Anthony Trollope
Edited and with an introduction by Paul Delany

ELS 112. ISBN 978-1-55058-626-8
(Kindle 978-1-55058-627-5)

 Anthony Trollope wrote two autobiographies. One was in the standard form, written when he reached the age of sixty in 1875, but only published after his death seven years later. The other was The Three Clerks (1858), a portrait of his life when he was in his twenties, not yet successful in his career as a civil servant, published as an author, or married. The Three Clerks shows life as it appears to Charley Tudor, a clerk in the Internal Navigation Office, and an obvious surrogate for Trollope himself. Charley Tudor’s loss of happiness comes partly from external events. But the overall tone of The Three Clerks reveals the young Trollope’s profound sense of being a failure, both at work and in his private life. And not just a failure, but a guilty failure, for which he feels a need to confess, and to atone.

Among Trollope’s novels, The Three Clerks is unusual for being published in two versions. In the later 1850s he gained rapid success as a commercial novelist, but he was also willing to accept suggestions about revisions from his publishers. When asked to shorten the Trollope to make substantial cuts to the three-volume first edition to reduce production costs for a cheap edition. Nonetheless, he marked about 13,700 words for deletion—about six percent of the text—including the entirety Chapter II.12, “The Civil Service.” The shortened Three Clerks is a significant record of Trollope’s self-criticism, which is why the present edition marks his cuts in italics. He had to decide which parts of his text were disposable and which essential; or even just which parts he liked more than others. In his Autobiography he boasted that few writers had written more words than him; the present edition shows his performance at the opposite task, of writing fewer.

Paul Delany is Professor Emeritus in the Department of English at Simon Fraser University. His work on Gissing includes: an edition of Gissing's In the Year of Jubilee (1994); Literature, Money and the Market from Trollope to Amis (2002); George Gissing: A Life (2007).

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