affinity with the oppositional stance

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Hi everybody,

My question is: what did the rentier culture offer here for the modernists? Were modernists hostile to the Victorian decadents or they sort of wanted to be similar to them, which the rentiers provided (so what is affinity here). I would be really glad if someone could clarify the two major poles of this situation,thus give some help in understanding this passage.

The modernists were also hostile to such marketable talents as Walter Besant or
Arnold Bennett, and based their esthetic on resistance to literary commodification. Yet
support for this resistance was largely derived—through the mediation of patronage—
from the rentier culture; so that the modernists were dependent on the independence of
those with greater means than themselves. They were both subordinate to rentier culture
and concerned to distinguish themselves from it. If rentier culture offered an escape from
the vulgarities of the literary marketplace (including the vulgarity of popular success),
and an affinity with the oppositional stance of late Victorian esthetes and decadents, why
did it not satisfy the literary aspirations of figures like Yeats, Joyce, Eliot and, above all,

source: Paul Delany: Who paid for modernism?
in: The New Economic Criticism.
Pound? In part, certainly, because they were all outsiders by nationality.

thank you!
 
  • exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    what did the rentier culture offer here for the modernists?
    support, financial and possibly moral.

    Were modernists hostile to the Victorian decadents or they sort of wanted to be similar to them,
    The modernists shared the late Victorian esthetes ambivalence towards the rentier culture.
    I would be really glad if someone could clarify the two major poles of this situation,thus give some help in understanding this passage.
    I'll try. The modernists, like the Late Victorian esthetes, rejected the accomodation to popular culture that made the High Victorian artists financially independent. Ironically, this stance of the Late Victorian esthetes and the modernists was only possible because of the support from the idle rich who lived off investments. The late Victorian esthetes accepted this arrangement and the accomodations necessary for it to succeed. The modernists wanted the support without having to accomodate the needs of the rentier class. The author wonders why.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The piece is remarkable for its pretentiousness. It takes real skill to write a paragraph when a line would do and use more parentheses than you can wave a stick at. If you have Paul Delany's email address I will send him an abusive email for he has tortured English until it agreed with him.

    In basic terms:
    Modernists were jealous of the novelists who sold thousands of books.
    Their jealousy was caused by the fact that the rentier-class despised the popular novelists too.
    The modernists sold their works to the rentier-class, whom they did not really like.
    However, the modernists Yeats, Joyce, Eliot and, Pound were outside the influence of the rentier-class culture because they were foreign.
     
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