For the first time in scholarship, this essay collection interprets modernity through the literary micro-genres of the aphorism, the epigram, the maxim, and the fragment. Situating Friedrich Nietzsche and Oscar Wilde as forerunners of modern aphoristic culture, the collection analyses the relationship between aphoristic consciousness and literary modernism in the expanded purview of the long twentieth century, through the work of a wide range of authors, including Samuel Beckett, Max Beerbohm, Jorge Luis Borges, Katherine Mansfield, and Stevie Smith. From the romantic fragment to the tweet, Aphoristic Modernity offers a compelling exploration of the short form's pervasive presence both as a standalone artefact and as part of a larger textual and cultural matrix.
Modernism, the Posthuman and the Finite
In Fantasies of Self-Mourning Ruben Borg describes the formal features of a posthuman, cyborgian imaginary at work in modernism. The book’s central claim is that modernism invents the posthuman as a way to think through the contradictions of its historical moment. Borg develops a posthumanist critique of the concept of organic life based on comparative readings of Pirandello, Woolf, Beckett, and Flann O’Brien, alongside discussions of Alfred Hitchcock, Chris Marker, Béla Tarr, Ridley Scott and Mamoru Oshii. The argument draws together a cluster of modernist narratives that contemplate the separation of a cybernetic eye from a human body—or call for a tearing up of the body understood as a discrete organic unit capable of synthesizing desire and sense perception.