Modernism and the Rhythms of Sympathy: Vernon Lee, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence

ISBN : 9780199674084

Kirsty Martin
240 Pages
148 x 225 mm
Pub date
Mar 2013
Oxford English Monographs
Send mail

How do we feel for others? Must we try to understand other minds? Do we have to respect others' autonomy, or even their individuality? Or might sympathy be fundamentally more intuitive, bodily and troubling? Taking as her focus the work of Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, and Vernon Lee (the first novelist to use the word 'empathy'), Kirsty Martin explores how modernist writers thought about questions of sympathetic response. Attending closely to literary depictions of gesture, movement and rhythm; and to literary explorations of the bodily and of transcendence; this book argues that central to modernism was an ideal of sympathy that was morally complex, but that was driven by a determination to be true to what it is to feel. Offering new readings of major literary texts, and original research into their historical contexts, Modernism and the Rhythms of Sympathy sets modernist texts alongside recent discussions of emotion and cognition. It offers a fresh reading of literary modernism, and suggests how modernism might continue to unsettle our thinking about feeling today.


1. Vernon Lee's Empathy
2. Virginia Woolf and the 'Conditions of Our Love'
3. D.H. Lawrence: 'The Way Our Sympathy Flows and Recoils'

About the author: 

Kirsty Martin studied as an undergraduate and postgraduate at the University of Oxford. She held a Junior Research Fellowship at Linacre College, University of Oxford, and a Lectureship at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She is currently Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Exeter.

The price listed on this page is the recommended retail price for Japan. When a discount is applied, the discounted price is indicated as “Discount price”. Prices are subject to change without notice.