Michael H. Levenson A Genealogy of Modernism: English Literary Doctrine 1908-22.
Cambridge University Press, 260 pages, $29.95
It was right to call this excellent study A Genealogy of Modernism, since one could trace the ancestry of modernist doctrines almost indefinitely into the past. It was wrong to refer to “modernism” and not “a modernism,” since the book ignores the many modernist or avant-garde movements all over the Western literary scene from South America to Russia. Actually the subtitle “A Study of English Literary Doctrine, 1902-1922,” describes the book’s contents accurately, though not exhaustively. Only a few authors are discussed in any detail: T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, Wyndham Lewis, and T. S. Eliot, all within the strict time limits of 1908-1922.
The term “modernism” was never used by this group to...