Modernism, Orientalism, and East Asia

Christopher Bush*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


A full account of the relationship between East Asia and modernism must acknowledge both the formal-aesthetic and the geopolitical-historical dimensions of that relationship. Orientalist modernism should be understood not primarily as a more or less flawed representation of "the Orient," but as a geopolitically specific iteration of aesthetic modernism's problematic relationship to the history of modernity. East Asia was widespread in Euro-American modernism and therefore its study should not be dismissed to the status of a subfield such as "East/West modernism," "modernist Orientalism," "other modernisms," or the like. This chapter first provides an overview of the inter-arts context within which literary modernism's relationship to East Asia emerged, before returning to the conceptual consequences East Asian modernity had for the Western historical imagination. Then, it briefly describes East Asian modernisms and their significance in relation to a general study of modernism, while the author's conclusion proposes possible directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Handbook of Modernism Studies
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780470658734
StatePublished - Mar 17 2013


  • East Asia
  • East Asian modernity
  • Literature
  • Modernism
  • Orientalism
  • Western artists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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