• Conférence/Rencontre,

Rencontre : Scott McCracken (Queen Mary University of London)

Publié le 14 décembre 2016 Mis à jour le 22 mars 2017

Going Long: Dorothy Richardson's Pilgramage and the experience of time


le 28 avril 2017

Institut du monde anglophone, 5 rue de l'Ecole de médecine, 75005 Paris
This paper is based on my experience of editing Dorothy Richardson’s long modernist novel, the thirteen ‘chapter-volumes’ of which were published between 1915, first as single volumes, then in the collected edition of 1938, and finally in 1967, when material from the unfinished, incomplete manuscript of March Moonlight was added posthumously to the 1938 edition. I am going to talk in detail about editing Backwater, the second ‘chapter-volume’ of Pilgrimage, first published in 1916, which I am currently working on, as an example Richardson’s technique and the problems it poses for the editor. But in addition to the, sometimes dry (except to other editors) business of textual editing, I also want to speculate about the about why the long modernist novel comes into existence at the beginning of the twentieth century, when, almost simultaneously, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and Dorothy Richardson and others opt not just to experiment with new forms of prose, but for length.

I approach the problem in three stages. First, I discuss our editorial decision to use the British first editions as copy texts not the later 1938 edition, which although approved by Richardson represents a retreat from some of her more radical experiments in layout and punctuation. The modernism of 1916 is not the same as the repackaged modernism of 1938 and as editors we have taken the decision to return to the text as it was first received, with all its original innovations and flaws. Second, I offer an analysis of the narrative structure of Backwater, suggesting that there is a relationship between its form, with its inbuilt notion of aesthetic failure, and gendered subjectivity at an impasse. In response, Backwater experiments with a series of narrative dead ends (backwaters), which I suggest following Eveline Kilian, create what we would now describe as queer temporalities. Third, returning to the gambit opened up by the issue of Modernist Cultures on the long modernist novel I edited with Jo Winning in 2014, I ask how these temporalities relate to the larger project of Pilgrimage as a long, unfinished, and perhaps unfinishable, long modernist narrative.

Scott McCracken is Professor of Twentieth-Century Literature at Queen Mary University of London. He is General Editor of the Collected Letters and Fiction of Dorothy Richardson, published by Oxford University Press. He is author of Masculinities, Modernist Fiction, and the Urban Public Sphere (Manchester UP, 2007); co-author with P. Buse, K. Hirschkop, and B. Taithe of Benjamin’s Arcades: An unGuided tour (Manchester UP, 2006); and co-editor with David Glover of The Cambridge Companion to Popular Fiction (Cambridge UP, 2012).

Mis à jour le 22 mars 2017