“A wide-ranging collection that allows the mask—as artifact, metaphor, theatrical costume, fetish, strategy for self-concealment, and treasured cultural object—to clarify modernity’s relationship to history.”—Carrie J. Preston, author of Modernism’s Mythic Pose: Gender, Genre, Solo Performance
“Covering an impressive range of geographies, cultures, and time periods, these carefully researched essays explore the fascinating role of masks and masking in mediating the relationship between tradition and modernity in both art and literature.”—Paul Jay, author of The Humanities “Crisis” and the Future of Literary Studies
Behind the Masks of Modernism: Global and Transnational Perspectives edited by Andrew Reynolds and Bonnie Roos reconsiders the meaning of “modernism” by taking an interdisciplinary approach and stretching beyond the Western modernist canon and the literary scope of the field. The essays in this diverse collection explore numerous regional, national, and transnational expressions of modernity through art, history, architecture, drama, literature, and cultural studies around the globe. Masks—both literal and metaphorical—play a role in each of these artistic ventures, from Brazilian music to Chinese film, and Russian poetry to Nigerian masquerade performance.
These case studies show how masks enable artists and communities to grapple with deep societal transformations caused by modern transnational forces. The contributors show how artists and writers produce their works in moments of emerging modernity, aesthetic sensibility, and deep societal transformation. Using the mask as a thematic focus, the volume explores the dialogue created through regional modernisms, emphasizes the local in describing universal tropes of masks and masking, and challenges popular assumptions about what modernism looks like and what modernity is.
Andrew Reynolds, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Spanish program at West Texas A&M University, is the author of The Spanish American Crónica Modernista, Temporality and Material Culture. Bonnie Roos, associate professor of English at West Texas A&M University, is coeditor of Postcolonial Green.