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By Rosemary Sumner

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The query 'What is modernism?' has provoked excessive serious dialogue. A path to Modernism explores this region; it specializes in the unusual and hazardous trip taken through Hardy, Lawrence and Woolf in the direction of unknown areas of the brain and the universe. In a dialogue of those novelists, either separately and relating to each other, a thorough reconsideration of modernism is built. Woolf envisaged her contemporaries 'flashing previous on one other railway line'. A path to Modernism exhibits the hypothetical educate of Hardy, Lawrence and Woolf no longer following an current tune yet tunnelling underneath surfaces, following routes that are 'spasmodic, fragmentary', occasionally starting up like a rocket into the cosmos. Their fragmented, modernist works deny us 'the convenience of ...a unmarried which means, both in artworks or within the world'. This publication deals new methods to modernism, whereas insisting on books being left 'open - no end come to'.

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Swithin's comment that the inept name of 'Coal-sack' for one of the 'voids and waste places of the sky' has 'a farcical force from its very inadequacy' 32 makes explicit Hardy's sympathy with the concept of the absurd. It is an acknowledgement that any attempt to render the universe familiar is futile, whether by rational, explanatory or farcical means; yet the farcical method is more powerful than any conceptual approach. The incongruity of the name has the same kind of effect as Winnie up to her waist in the earth cleaning her teeth and doing her hair.

In her diary notes of her first thoughts on The Moths (later to become The Waves) a character might 'think about the age of the earth: the death of humanity'. This idea is explored differently and more explicitly in Between the Acts. Isa's tentative and wistful longing is to escape from her role as an overburdened donkey into an imagined world which is wholly empty and negative: some harvestless dim field where no evening lets fall her mantle; nor sun rises. All's equal there. Unblowing, ungrowing are the roses there.

Acting like puppets Under Time's buffets. But Viviette does not act like a puppet. 'Her life during that morning and afternoon was wholly introspective' (ch. 35). This is reminiscent of Isabel Archer's night of meditation in The Portrait of a Lady, published in the previous year. Both characters' fluctuations of thought and feeling are minutely explored. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-17 'Two on a Tower' 31 but with little suggestion that she can actively take steps to make a better future, though she will understand it better; Viviette does take a new look at the past, but the essence of the passage is concerned with her struggle to change herself.

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