Cheap Modernism (Hardcover)

Expanding Markets, Publishers' Series and the Avant-Garde (Edinburgh Critical Studies in Modernist Culture)

By Lise Jaillant

Edinburgh University Press, 9781474417242, 192pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 2017

List Price: 105.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


We often think of Mrs Dalloway or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as difficult books, originally published in small print runs for a handful of readers. But from the mid-1920s, these texts and others were available in cheap format across Europe. Uniform series of reprints such as the Travellers' Library, the Phoenix Library, Tauchnitz and Albatross sold modernism to a wide audience - thus transforming a little-read "highbrow" movement into a popular phenomenon. The expansion of the readership for modernism was not only vertical (from "high" to "low") but also spatial - since publisher's series were distributed within and outside metropolitan centres in Britain, continental Europe and elsewhere. Many non-English native speakers discovered texts by Joyce, Woolf and others in the original language - a fact that has rarely been mentioned in histories of modernism. Drawing on extensive work in neglected archives, Cheap Modernism will be of interest to all those who want to know how the new literature became a global commercial hit.

About the Author

Lise Jaillant is Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at Loughborough University. She is the author of Modernism, Middlebrow and the Literary Canon: the Modern Library Series, 1917-1955 (2014).