Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2011


"[T]he mind and the terrain shape each other: every landscape is a landscape of desire to some degree, if not always for its inhabitants"

Rebecca Solnit (Landscapes 9)

Modernist writers, captivated by the work of mapping the complex terrain of desire, present a variety of encounters with, studies on, and reinventions of the landscape. Although critical attention has focused on the fláneur in the cityscape, a focus on pastoral and hybrid (suburban) landscapes can reveal the way modernism engages with these terrains in order to "make it new" in aesthetics (the mythical method T.S. Eliot identified with James Joyce's Ulysses) and critique the "new" of modernity (mass culture and globalization). Novels and poetry from the year 1992, which Michael North has read as a defining moment in mapping modernism, evidence a multifarious and wide-ranging engagement with the landscape, including Eliot's The Wasteland, Joyce's Ulysses, Rebecca West's The Judge and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room. In each, characters' interactions with pastoral, hybrid, and metropolitan landscapes frame central questions about identity in modernity. Landscape likewise plays a crucial role in framing questions of national and gender identity in D.H. Lawrence's 1922-1923 novel Kangaroo, a novel, however, ill at ease with the modernist response to modernity.

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This document was originally published in D.H. Lawrence Review by D.H. Lawrence Review. Copyright restrictions may apply.