Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Professor Paul Saint-Amour's book "Tense Future" wins Modernist Studies Association Book Prize

Professor Paul Saint-Amour received the twelfth annual Modernist Studies Association Book Prize for his Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form (Oxford University Press, 2015). The award is given to the book deemed to have made the most significant contribution to the field of modernist studies.

In their citation, the book prize jurors write, “Tense Future tackles modernism as a product of the interwar period in terms of the collective psychological effects of the imminent dread produced by total war. The study draws out this new phenomenology of anticipation as one among other of the strands of modernism which can no longer be united under some global theory of modernism or modernity. This approach yields a series of stimulating readings of those modernist classics which deal with war—Parade’s EndUlyssesMrs. Dalloway and The Years—and makes a welcome foray outside that corpus to Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, moving on to the question of historical archiving, which opens up the topic of the encyclopedism of modernism as a response to the fragility of civilizations revealed by total war. Aiming to be polyvalent and suggestive, Saint-Amour’s text repeatedly glances forward from the interwar to the cold war, setting up models of interference which remind modernist studies not to be bound by period. Throughout, this study develops its arguments carefully through many layers, presents its case studies with clarity and control, and rewards the reader with a constant flow of insight.”