All of this begs the question: should we bother with modernism at all? Is it suited to our bedside table, or should it be exiled to obscurity on some distant library shelf? An old cliché condemns it as an experiment that went nowhere, but I suggest that modernism can be more than a discreet title on a top ten list, or the answer to a question at a pub quiz. Reading modernist writers need not be a life’s work, but an enjoyable way to pass the time.
Much as I champion Joyce and Woolf, both favourites, there are other literary modernists worth reading. Cyril Connolly’s 100 Key Books offers many treasures, very few that are boring.