Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing


Literature, American.


McNamara, E.,




The form of Manhattan Transfer is basically two-fold: on one level, themes and techniques of modernist art abound in the text to provide a complex admixture of montage, prose poetry, simultaneous imagery and apocalypse; on a deeper, overtonal level, exhaustive use of satirical techniques renders a sharp criticism of early twentieth century America. Baudelaire's urban poetic serves as a paradigm for the modern artists aesthetic of urban despair. Futurism and Expressionism are collided to reveal the ambiguity of modernism as it appears in Manhattan Transfer: modernization as utopian and modernization as apocalyptic. Analytical Cubism and film montage are used to explore the fragmented structure of the narrative; it is contended that the apparently anarchic structure of the novel (due to fragmentation) encourages an intuitive reading, while recurring images and precise juxtapositions encourage a more analytical reading of the fragments. In this manner, a reading process analogous to Bergson's duration is promoted. By engaging the reader intuitively and analytically the effectiveness of Manhattan Transfer as a work of social satire is enhanced. Artists cited include Rimbaud, Apollinaire, Boccioni, Braques, Meidner, Grosz and Eisenstein. Source: Masters Abstracts International, Volume: 30-03, page: 0482. Supervisor: E. McNamara. Thesis (M.A.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1990.