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Ernest Christopher Dowson (1867 - 1900)
poet and translator
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- Sleepwalking into Modernity: Bourdieu and the Case of Ernest Dowson
- "HOW DOES ONE DISCUSS literary mediocrity? It is not, at first appearance, an especially frightening question. For the mediocre, neither terribly good nor even instructively bad, is often taken as precisely that which, vapid, pedestrian or merely superseded, does not demand discussion. It is immediately apprehended as flat, cliched, overused. The mere attribution of mediocrity, then, has a compelling self-sufficiency For, seen as the product of half-waking habit, the mediocre text commands a correspondingly low level of attention on the part of criticism. In sketching the role of also-ran generally assigned by literary history to an Ernest Dowson, however, my interest does not lie in the redressing of balances. Rather, I want to suggest that such a role--regardless of who fills it--has a certain structural necessity in the charting however implicit, operative, or provisional--of periods, movements, and generations. This is especially the case where Modernity is at stake. Bearing the stigma of the second order--cliche, habit, somnambulism--such a text assumes a lack or failure of consciousness in the denunciation of which mastery, consciousness, and the avant-garde are constituted."
- Contains: Criticism
- Author: Stephen Thomson
- From: Criticism Fall 1999
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Last Updated Mar 25, 2014