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Constellation of Genius: 1922: Modernism Year One

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Ezra Pound referred to 1922 as Year One of a new era. It was the year that began with the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses and ended with the publication of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, two works that were arguably “the sun and moon” of modernist literature, some would say of modernity itself.

In Constellation of Genius, Kevin Jackson puts the titanic achievements of J
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ebook, 448 pages
Published September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published December 1st 2011)
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MJ Nicholls
An exhausting and entertaining précis of the cultural, political, and scientific explosions that took place in 1922. Focusing on the twin peaks of modernism—The Waste Land and Ulysses—Jackson’s brilliant book captures the foreboding and excitement of that monumental time when timeless art was oozing from copious orifices, and the Ungreat Dictators were in the process of wiping out half the universe. His summaries are learned and well-informed—all topics are uncaptured with the essence of pith, m ...more
Rob Spence
Constellation of Genius is one of those brilliantly simple ideas that seem so obvious once someone else has come up with it: it's an almanac of the peak year of Modernism, 1922, the year of The Waste Land and Ulysses. The year is reported chronologically, arranged in twelve (obviously) chapters, with an introductory scene-setting account of the state of play at the start of the year, and a fascinating 'Aftermath' section which deals with the post-1922 careers of the main players, and many of the ...more
AC
A very rapid pastiche of (mostly) literary gossip. Some interesting anecdotes, but not a terribly weighty or important book.
Busyknitter
Oh dear. I should have read the blurb. This wasn't a book about modernism, it was a chronological gossip column from 1922, mainly taken from the diaries and letters of the celebrities of the day. I really disliked it.

I'm just not interested in Joyce's arguments with his publisher, Eliot's boring job in the Bank of England and Maynard Keynes's sex life. I also don't need to be reminded what a nasty person Bertrand Russell was.

(Side note; it's never a good sign when the footnotes seem to take up m
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Jonathan
This is a great book to get caught up in. As its subtitle indicates it is essentially about the beginnings of the Modernist era, given as the year that Joyce's 'Ulysses' was published, but also 1922 was the year that Eliot's 'The Waste Land' appeared. The book is divided into the 12 months as chapters, then the significant events are discussed chronologically, flitting around the world, introducing the major players of the time, whether they be writers, artists, composers, filmmakers or politici ...more
Disarticulate
An awful lot happened in 1922 in the world of art, literature, politics, film, international relations - the world in general. So much so, that a book such as the 'Constellation of Genius' is needed to track the daily highlights from this wonderful year. Structured as an almanac recounting the major events on a day by day basis, 'Constellation of Genius' really helped me appreciate how remarkable this year was.

1922 saw the publication of the two fundamental landmarks of Modernism - Ulysess and
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Russell Pearce
This has a simple thesis; that Modernism was formed and furnished with its twin leading literary landmarks of Ulysses and The Waste Lands in 1922, and that everything else was framed with reference to an event that took place this year. The year is laid out for us to consume, event by event, letter by gossipy letter, historical details related in chronological order, with a simplicity that allows the world it describes to speak for itself.

Easy and straightforward, Kevin Jackson illustrates his
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Patti K
This 2013 book is an almanac calendar of the annus mirabilis 1922.
Many important events happened in historical, cultural, and scientific
areas. It is an exciting compilation of the highlights of that year.
The Wasteland and Ulysses were both published; the BBC was founded;
Mussolini, Stalin, and Hitler were on the rise much to the world's
chagrin. The first Disney animation was produced and Albert Einstein
was awarded the Nobel in Physics. It is a fascinating excursion through
history.
David Hambling
Better than it looks. History is chopped into bite size bits, but there is coherence and insight underlying it.
Too much hero-worship and some very dubious politics -- it seems the fascists aren't so bad, but all the communists are -- but ignoring that he gives a fine if necessarily shallow sweep of an era seen from the bastions of art and literature.
Amy
A calendar of the year 1922, which is bookended with the publications of Joyce's Ulysses and Eliot's The Wasteland. The author also talks about historical, cultural, scientific, and other innovations that came along during that year, but this has a very literary focus. Super interesting!
Jeff Howells
I loved this book. It's a day by day account of 1922, the year in which both The Waste Land and Ulysses were published. It tracks the movements of a large cast of characters not just from the literary world (Eliot, Joyce, Woolf) but from music, film, politics, Art, Dance, architecture. Great to read and full of interesting pieces of info.
Rachel Hore
A fascinating month by month account of literary events of 1922, the year The Wasteland and Ulysses were published, and Proust died. Readable as well as scholarly. Particularly interesting is tracking the critical reaction to Ulysses, hailed by some as genius, condemned by others as obscene and blasphemous, greeted with utter puzzlement by the rest.
Abby Huff
Want to know how Modernism started? Of course you do! Read this book it will tell you all you want to know about Modernism year 1, and do it in a way that doesn't make you want to throw it across the room.

The only thing I didn't like was that they kept referring back to Joyce and Eliot whose lives in 1922 went that exciting to read about.
John
great read and the format made for interesting reading...
Gail
Actually gave up on this not my type of book at all, thought it was going to be more of an in twined story but wasn't.
Judson Scott
Somewhat disappointing--lots of interesting history, but no thread to hold it together.
Katelyn
love. love loved it.
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