Modernism- representation or symptom?

Here’s a quote that really got me thinking and from which i started working towards for my presentation tomorrow 🙂 :

“The experience of modernity is fostered by the rise of the modern city, and works of modernism do not so much convey this experience as they betray the strain of surviving it and detail their various strategies for doing so. Thus modernism might be regarded less as a representation of modernity and more as a symptom of it.” (Garry Leonard)

I’ve been thinking of how Modernism relates to Empire in our module and thought that perhaps Modernism seems opposed to the idea of Empire because it is supposed to be about validating individual subjectivity which goes against the grain of any colonizing discourse. However, if Modernism is just a symptom of Modernity, then by extension did Empire really cease because of this enlightened idea of Modernism or simply because of the conditions of modernity? When empire ceased, could it be that it is not because people suddenly realized the Truth but because of so many social forces which renders empire outmoded and forces it out because it just cannot coexist with the other elements. It is not freedom but no choice :p So what new mode of colonization have we come up with now? Capitalism?

According to a critic, the lack of money drives Stephen to be an artist because he has no other means to validate his position as a member of the middle class. Thus, at the downturn of the family’s fortunes, Simon Daedelus sends Stephen to be educated,  giving him all the necessary resources to develop his aesthetic theory. He seems more obsessed with articulating it than actually producing a work of art, perhaps a reflection of his anxiety?

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