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Fragmenting Modernism$
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Sara Haslam

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719060557

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719060557.001.0001

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The narrative push

The narrative push

Chapter:
(p.20) 1 The narrative push
Source:
Fragmenting Modernism
Author(s):

Sara Haslam

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719060557.003.0002

This chapter explores the relationship between fragmentation, repression and writing, focusing on some of the less-obvious contributing factors for Ford Madox Ford's first volume of autobiography, Ancient Lights. It describes Sigmund Freud as ‘at least emblematic’ of modernism, and pursues the idea of a relationship between psychoanalysis and modernist literary subject matter and techniques. The attempt to recognise gaps between parts of the self is powerfully resonant in the early modernist era: ‘For both Henry James and Fyodor Dostoevsky, reality lay in human consciousness and the fathomless workings of the mind’. We know from James's ‘Chamber of Consciousness’, in which suspends the spider-web of experience ‘catching every air-borne particle’, that consciousness alone manifests multiple and distinct strands. Psychoanalysis emerged as simply ‘a psychology that emphasised the unconscious mind’, rather than its conscious counterpart. Freud writes on the experience of the closeness of death in war as a unification of the civilised man with the primitive urge to kill – now he can, and with impunity.

Keywords:   Ford Madox Ford, autobiography, Ancient Lights, fragmentation, repression, writing, Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis, psychology, war

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