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Rich, learned, and sophisticated...Eliot and Beckett's Low Modernism proves to be one of the most exciting and rewarding books on modernism I have read in a long time.
JEAN-MICHEL RABATÉ, University of Pennsylvania

"What a mighty monograph on modernist humility this is! Eliot and Beckett's Low Modernism is a rare work of interpretative innovation and textual close reading."
MATTHEW FELDMAN, University of York

"De Villiers's study is deeply impressive. It is highly original and erudite, yet engaging and, yes, humble." 
MIKE MARAIS, Rhodes University

Eliot and Beckett's Low Modernism: Humility and Humiliation (EUP)

Humility and humiliation have an awkward, often unacknowledged intimacy. Humility may be a queenly, cardinal or monkish virtue, while humiliation points to an affective state at the extreme end of shame. Yet a shared etymology links the words to lowliness and, further down, to the earth.


Like the terms in question, T. S. Eliot and Samuel Beckett share an imperfect likeness. Between them is a common interest in states of abjection, shame and suffering – and possible responses to such states. Tracing the relation between negative affect, ethics, and aesthetics, Eliot and Beckett’s Low Modernism demonstrates how these two major modernists recuperate the affinity between humility and humiliation – concepts whose definitions have largely been determined by philosophy and theology. Read more HERE.


Rick de Villiers teaches English literature at the University of the Free State, South Africa. His first book, Eliot and Beckett's Low Modernism: Humility and Humiliation (2021) is published by Edinburgh University Press. 

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