Thursday, November 16th, 2017...9:26 pmserlemip


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In her answer to the first question, Kathleen Pfeiffer makes the connection and distinction between modernism and the Harlem Renaissance. She says that they work together, but they are not “interdependent.” Writers involved in both movements understood used the ideas from both movements together to strengthen their pieces, but writers only part of one movement or the other did not fully understand how the two movements connected.

I was interested to read about Pfeiffer’s growing understanding of modernism, and how, at the start of her career, she had a lot of untested ideas. Recently, she is most interested in modernist journals for their “aesthetic and intellectual pleasure” (453) and for their ability to give context to twentieth century work using both literary and visual elements.

I think that her answer to the penultimate question connects to our class discussions very well. She says that she would like to see “more interdisciplinary collaboration between and among scholars” (453). We have been trying to view these topics through many different lenses, to get a fuller understanding of how these movements worked in tandem.

A question I might add is “Which authors do you feel were most influential in bringing the two movements together, and how were they able to do so?” Her response to the first question interested me, and I would have liked to hear more about how authors were able to merge the seemingly separate movements and bring ideas from both movements together into one literary experience.


  • The modernism movement was in fact its own, but African Americans chose to use or not use modernist techniques in their own works in order to gain more recognition and more power for their works. In keeping with the trends of the time, they were able to create their own subsequent movement that would span a number of years and even to the present it remains relevant.

  •   Aliya Nichols
    November 19th, 2017 at 2:48 am

    I like the point you made about how Pfeiffer “makes the connection and distinction between modernism and the Harlem Renaissance.” The idea of “working together without interdependence” shows how different methodologies strengthen they ways in which movements are viewed. It seems as though modernism enhances our understanding of the Harlem Renaissance and changes our perspective on the importance of the aesthetic movement.

  •   Professor Seiler
    November 21st, 2017 at 3:01 am

    Phoebe–what a fantastic question! Who were the writers who bridged, synthesized, or otherwise worked across these movements–and *how*? Might this kind of synthetic approach to CR/HR and modernism become the germ of your final anthology project?

  • Phoebe, I really like that question and I find it very interesting. Maybe a research paper in the future! It would defiantly be interesting to see how the others “merged” their ideas together.

  •   Alexis Wiggins
    December 4th, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    I think the question you posed is a really interesting one. From your summary, it seems like Pfeiffer really spoke a lot on the interconnectedness of the two movements. To specifically point to authors who did bring the movements together would greatly enhance her point.

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