The idea of individuality, emerges at the point at which it begins to occur to people that there may be no such thing. People may be unique, but their uniqueness may be insignificant.
Finding the right tone to write, or to write off, the utter inconsequence of modern human life became the Modernist project. There haa come about. like some arriviste, a sense of the irrelevance of politics, a sense of the political as an exhausted project, one sees the evidence of this in Post-liberalism, (Trump as the post liberal response to the arch libersl Obama)
Taking an historical overview on Modernism, ‘Paranoid Modernism,’ Trotter writes, ‘was markedly – though by no means without exception – English, male and novelistic.’
This could lead one to believe, and Trotter intimates as much, that the story he wants to tell about the ‘crisis’ of Modernism was also a crisis of masculinity. ‘Paranoia’ wasn’t so much the modern word for sanity, it was the modern word for masculinity. Paranoid Modernism, as Trotter acknowledges, is a book about male writers for whom ‘mess’, ‘disorder’, ‘luck’ (good and bad), ‘accident’, ‘contingency’ and ‘waste’ were all words descriptive of femininity. Male paranoia demands female abjection. The man who is happily nothing special is the secret sharer of Trotter’s Paranoid Modernists. Not the man without qualities whose very quality-lessness makes him unique, but a man for whom uniqueness is no longer the point.