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Am I a Snob?: Modernism and the Novel Paperback – February 13, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0801488412 ISBN-10: 0801488419 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

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"In this concise work on the relationship between snobbery and modernism, Latham traces the transformation of the word snob, which once meant a lower-class person trying to copy his superiors and now means a person aware of artistic values. . . . Although some of Latham's observations are highly debatable, they are always intriguing and thought-provoking. Recommended for literature collections at academic and larger public libraries."—Library Journal, 15 March 2003

"Because Latham addresses the important question of elitism inherent in modernism and, in particular interest to us readers of this periodical, the elitist aura of intellectual snobbery in the marketing and reading of Joyce's works. Joyce is both an ideal test case for Latham's analysis of the elitist and the marketplace and the best proof of his argument. Latham succeeds in his claims, to his credit and to our discomfort. . . . In this convincing and perceptive book, Latham demonstrates that the readers of this journal are snobs."—Roy Gottfried, James Joyce Literary Supplement, Fall 2003

"The book is extremely readable, and its subject matter is so that undergraduates as well as the most informed modernist scholars will find it offers original and helpful insights. Latham uses the question Virginia Woolf posed in the title of a paper she delivered privately to her Bloomsbury friends—"Am I a snob?"—as an instigation for his analysis of the ways Thackeray, Wilde, Woolf, Joyce, and Dorothy L. Sayers tried to navigate their way through the literary marketplace as authors who participated in a modern literacy project that inevitably found itself beset by the problems posed by aesthetic snobbery. . . . One of the greatest strengths of Latham's book is that is promotes active reading, whether one is an undergraduate or an experienced scholar. For example, it would be impossible, of course, for Latham to offer a thorough discussion of the issue of snobbery and the literary marketplace in every text in which these issues are present. At the same time, it is impossible as one reads—because Latham's book is so engaging—not to consider how snobbery and the literary marketplace function for Dickens, for example, or for Charlotte Bronte, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lytton Strachey, Vita Sackville-West, Katherine Mansfield, or E.M. Forster. This is the most enjoyable kind of reading, reading which invites one to become an integral part of the meaning-making process at the same time it instructs, informs, and promotes collaboration between reader and author. Latham's book is therefore a valuable pedagogical tool and an important critical contribution to Woolf and modernist studies."—Shannon Forbes, Woolf Studies Annual, 2004

"Sean Latham provides a concrete, nuanced account of the ways modernist literature confronts itself from the start as an economic, and not merely an aesthetic, phenomenon. He shows that the most searching texts of literary modernism are those that begin to achieve a reflexive knowledge of snobbery, which is to say, a level of self-knowledge as regards their own participation in the collective scramble for scarce rewards that is euphemistically known as 'culture.'"—James F. English, University of Pennsylvania

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"Sean Latham provides a concrete, nuanced account of the ways modernist literature confronts itself from the start as an economic, and not merely an aesthetic, phenomenon. He shows that the most searching texts of literary modernism are those that begin to achieve a reflexive knowledge of snobbery, which is to say, a level of self-knowledge as regards their own participation in the collective scramble for scarce rewards that is euphemistically known as 'culture.'"—James F. English, University of Pennsylvania --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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