Jessica Berman was Assistant Professor of English and Women's Studies at the University of Maryland,Baltimore,at the time of publication.She argues , in ''Modernist Fiction,Cosmopolitanism, and the vPolitics of Community'', that the fiction of Henry James,Marcel Prouse,Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein engages directly with early twentieth century transformations of community and cosmopolitanism.
There are modernist writers who have developed varying models of social organization.This book speaks to the rise in urbanization and the specialization of labour.Community as the crucial link between speaker and listener is developed.It is the ''realm in which narrative and history coincide'',according to Walter Benjamin and Raymond Williams.This book then,deals with the theory of community,or more precisely,the revisiting of it.Then there is the wider relationship between community and the world.The work traces the launch of the ''Cosmopolitan'' during the publishing euphoria that gripped the nation in the 1880's and 1890's.
Emblazoned on its cover for 1886, beneath its world-embracing slogan,was a picture of the newly
completed Statue of Liberty,beckoning its readers into its pages as though into the bosom of the
nation.On the cover of the magazine the statue not only for America's still open door,but for the
magazine's vision of itself as various in its perspective and far-reaching in its content]28].
But later on the Statue of Liberty,so prominent in ''Cosmopolitan's'' early issues,disappears from its latter pages,''its symbol no longer a clear and guiding light into the promise of American identity''.
In its struggle to promote cosmopolitan as a national identity, the'' Cosmopolitan'' strikes a note that coincides with James' later writings.But the idea of cosmopolitan can easily be traced back to ''Ethics'' and the ''Politics'' where Aristotle was writing at a time when Alexander the Great and others were already envisioning a larger and wider state.
Marcel Prousts' part in the ''Dreyfuss Affair'' is tabulated as well as that of Bernard Lazare.Proust's role also signified his willingness to be connected to the Jewish community while partially separating himself from France[without,however,relinquishing the right to call for a new verdict in the name of French justice].
Importantly,for both Proust and Lazare,it required construction of a subtle new mode of belonging,
one predicated on the insight that comes from standing at the margins,from forging new community
identities out of conscious pariarchdom.
However,Berman states that Proust did not follow Lazare down the Zionist path.Berman casts Virginia Woolf,somewhat like Proust,as a cosmopolitan outsider,a practitioner of a studied indifference to the concerns of patriotism or the demands of any specific national crisis.For Woolf says;''As a woman I have no country.As a woman I want no country,As a woman my country is the whole world''.
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