Ryan, M. (2013). Art, utopia and the aestheticized self. Arena,39/40 253-270. Australia: Arena Printing and Publications Pty. Ltd..
Novels, however, come to us practically raw: the printer is the most self-effacing of intermediaries.5 He proceeds to characterize the modernist project of the early twentieth century as consolidating this hermetic enclosure of the novel, cutting it free of its 'Victorian inheritance - ethics, manners, didacticism'.6 'This movement towards a circular, internal referentiality, finds its complete accomplishment in Finnegan's Wake.'7 He concludes this short discussion by appealing for a new departure from the novel into 'writing': 'some new and as yet unimaginable synthesis of style and content'.8 Here 'style' is shorthand for a conspicuous aestheticism, in which the novel displays its artificial texture, an art primarily concerned with Art. The particular formative traits of this intellectual-type self-constitution can be summarized by drawing on the social theory of Geoff Sharp.9 Three main characteristics emerge: social integration established through technological mediation (particularly writing and print), the process of 'lifting out' or the defamiliarization of social circumstance, and an associated ideology of autonomy.
School of Arts
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