Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation


English Language and Literatures



First Advisor

Thomas Rice


This dissertation occurs at the intersection of modernist studies, new modernist studies, and theories of affirmation. In terms of modernist studies, I offer the first and long overdue sustained study of Pound's modernist battle-cry, "Make it new." In doing so, I argue that "make it new" is a style of engagement used by the modernists that coined the phrase but equally useful to current scholars of the period. Taking up the question that founded the Modernist Studies Association in 1999, "what do we do after the new modernisms?", my project follows Jennifer Wicke's suggestion that we learn to practice modernism. By investigating "make it new" as a style of engagement and offering four models of that engagement, my dissertation is the first lengthy work that takes seriously the idea that modernism is not only our object of study but also a mode of operation useful for scholars whose interests span the humanities. In philosophical circles, affirmative thinking has long been associated with the thought of Nietzsche and later Deleuze. However, it is only recently that affirmation has come to be associated with questions of newness. And even more recently still that affirmation appears in literary studies. In working along the lines of convergence between "make it new" and affirmation my project furthers the research on affirmation and newness while simultaneously exploring the exciting possibilities of affirmation for literary studies began by scholars such as Gregg Lambert and Beatrice Monaco.


© 2010, Jonathan Daniel Elmore