Steven Connor Seminar 2012

Modernism, Writing and Number

Steven Connor Seminar Presentation 

Abstract: Modernism may be supposed to be opposed or allergic to number. Bertrand Russell, commenting on Bergson's promotion of intuition over intellect, observed that 'incapacity for mathematics is…a sign of grace – fortunately a very common one'. But, if the works of modernist artists are not exactly brimming with numbers and calculations, then the experience of modernity certainly is. Far from leaving number and measurement behind, the speeding up of the world required and intensified them; modernity is less a matter of pure speed than of the speedometer. Focusing on some works by Joyce, Woolf and Beckett, I will consider the ways in which counting and calculation scan and texture the superficially anumerate art of writing.

Bio: Steven Connor is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Birkbeck College London, where he has taught since 1979. He is Academic Director of the London Consortium Graduate Programme in Humanities and Cultural Studies and his most recent books are Paraphernalia: The Curious Lives of Magical Things (London: Profile, 2011), and A Philosophy of Sport (London: Reaktion, 2011).

Audio: Listen to Steven's seminar presentation (right click and "save link as" to download).

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