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"Just when you thought you knew your way around the modernist poetics of impersonality, Christina Walter comes to burn the maps. In the modernism she gives us, impersonality shares its im- at once with impasse and immersion: it names not just the 'extinction of personality,' in T. S. Eliot’s words, but also a deep engagement with personality’s limits and contingencies. Modernist writers came to this engagement, says Walter, through a physiological optics that put seeing back in the body and returned the subject to the object world. Optical Impersonality shows us the literary results of this embodiment: new forms of intersubjectivity, a move away from identitarian notions of the self, and varieties of collective politics—both left and right—distinct from liberal humanism."

"Optical Impersonality ambitiously and compellingly theorizes the mutual interplay between the visual culture and technoscience of mid-nineteenth- through mid-twentieth-century optics and modernist assaults on concepts of subjectivity. Walter provides nuanced new accounts of the work writers traditionally understood as espousing theories of aesthetic impersonality—Eliot, Pound, and H.D., for instance—but also reconsiders several who have not typically been seen as central to that project—such as Pater, Ford, and Loy. Walter’s refreshingly capacious interpretation of impersonality similarly enriches our understanding of the technoscience of the period. Optical Impersonality is a smart, philosophical, and historicized contribution to the field."

"Walter’s book certainly and productively opens up a rethinking of optical subjectivity, and offers engaging ways of critiquing the relationship between textual and imagistic form."

"Christina Walter makes clear that hers is an account of impersonality whose critical stakes turn on their difference from previous scholarship on the topic."

"Walter displays her "individual talent," which lies in showing not just how writers like Eliot manipulate impersonality toward their own ends, but also how critics’ misinterpretations of these maneuvers have led to an impoverished model of impersonal existence."