Each year, the Modernist Studies Association seeks nominations for its Book Prize, awarded to a book published in the previous year. A panel of judges determines the book that made the most significant contribution to modernist studies. The winner receives $1,000 plus up to $500 toward travel expenses to the MSA Conference, where the award is presented. A book first published in another year will not be eligible for the prize. This exclusion applies even if a new edition (paperback or revised, for example) was published in the award year. Please visit our Nominations page to recommend a book for this year's prize orvisit our archive to see previous winners.
2015 MSA Book Prize Winner
The Modernist Studies Association awards its 2015 Book Prize to Janet Poole's When the Future Disappears: The Modernist Imagination in Late Colonial Korea (Columbia)
When the Future Disappears is both a remarkable work of literary history and a groundbreaking meditation on modernisms across temporal and political regimes and transnational contexts. Poole accounts with striking range and fluency for the complex field of literary production in Korea during the final decade of its colonial occupation by Japan. In that fraught moment, she argues, a distinctive but broadly consequential modernism took shape. Faced with the colonial suppression of their native language and state control of publication and literary institutions, Korean writers were compelled to represent the loss of their language, their past, and their sense of the future, mobilizing modes of irony, paradox, abstraction, and silence to represent the lived experience of being and becoming modern as colonial subjects of Japan. Even for readers with no knowledge of Korean language or literature, Poole’s readings of key texts and figures makes a richly detailed case that Korea’s literary project, taking shape in the moment of global fascism, offers some of the most ambitious and provocative works of twentieth-century modernism across the globe. Her analysis not only creates a powerful framework for constituting Korean modernism as such. It repeatedly moves through Anglo-European modernism, and takes on the broader problem of accounting for temporal rupture, state violence, and the experience of colonization as generative conditions of cultural production. Deftly braiding literary history and textual readings with cultural and intellectual history, Poole has produced a work that models new, bracing possibilities for global and transnational modernist study, and for bold rethinking of the paradigms that shape our account of the relationship between aesthetic and political forms.
2015 MSA Book Prize Committee
Cristanne Miller, U of Buffalo (chair)
Sara Blair, U of Michigan
Vincent Sherry, Washington U in St. Louis
2015 MSA Book Prize Winner for for an edition, anthology, or essay collection
The Modernist Studies Association awards its 2015 Book Prize for an edition, anthology or essay collection to Anthony Cuda and Ronald Schuchard for The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot, Volume II: The Perfect Critic, 1919-1926 (Johns Hopkins)
A monumental work of scholarly editing, the long overdue Collected Prose of T. S. Eliot is sure to be widely used, appreciated, and admired. Volume II finds Eliot in his most prolific and indispensible years as a critic. Amidst such touchstones as the Sacred Wood essays, here one finds such important and previously uncollected material as neglected entries from the Dial “London Letters,” reviews and regular commentaries from The Criterion, and unsigned book reviews from far-flung locations, on often surprising topics. While the entire edition, projected to eight volumes, constitutes a major achievement and an indispensible archive, Volume II is certain to be the one most used by scholars, most central to ongoing studies and re-evaluations of Eliot and the history of modernist criticism. Clear and easily grasped editorial principles and superb content notes speak to the dedication, diligence, and sound sense of the editorial team.
2015 MSA Book Prize for an Edition, Anthology, or Essay Collection Committee
Patrick Collier, Ball State University (chair)
Anna Snaith, King’s College London
Andrew Thacker, Nottingham Trent University