Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice has been named one of 5 titles in a shortlist of finalists for the Modernist Studies Association Annual Book Prize for 2015. Here is the judges’ citation:

Jennifer Scappettone, Killing the Moonlight: Modernism in Venice (Columbia)

In Killing the Moonlight, Jennifer Scappettone performs a scholarly quarry of a city fabled in the literary history and cultural memory of Europe. Excavating the social geology of the Venetian site, surveying the layers of archaeological as well as architectural and artistic accumulation, Scappettone’s research opens the manifold dimensions of this legacy as a kind of living museum of European dreams. Critically, in a series of focused and revealing readings of its cultural locations, she also demonstrates a long history of such readings: in a process equally self-reflexive and illuminating, she shows how powerfully Venice speaks to the desires of political visionaries and aesthetic revolutionaries alike. A city ever sinking into the sea but always also renewing itself out of its museums of human history: the Venice of this compelling account presents those opposite possibilities as the substance of a major, generative tension in the imaginative consciousness of modernity. Venice extends its appeal in this convincing analysis to an English-language modernist imagination in particular, which finds in the history and memory of the city a representative, even exemplary, demonstration: art may be “made new,” after all, only once it is “already old,” and this double measure runs as a delineating rhythm in the history of the city Scappettone reclaims so engagingly and persuasively.


The other finalists are (in alphabetical order):

Mary Chapman, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford)

Janet Poole, When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea (Columbia)

Anna Snaith, Modernist Voyages: Colonial Women Writers in London (Cambridge)

Matthew Stratton, The Politics of Irony in American Modernism (Fordham)


Visit the MSA press release for more information. Happy reading!


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