Merry Modernist Seasons Tweetings

Merry Modernist Seasons Tweetings

As Autumn drew in, I had grand plans for a Christmas-themed blog post carefully critiquing, in depth, a variety of lesser-known works of modernist literature. Alas, this will have to wait until next year as, in the words of Dorothy Richardson,

‘Christmas [has] now suddenly reared itself up a few days off, offering nothing but the shadow of an unavoidable interruption’[1]

So, instead, I bring you the 12 Days of Modernist Christmas, a selection of my favourite festive Tweetable quotations from modernist writers, expressing some of the best and worst aspects of the season, from togetherness and wonder to greed, conflict, snow, and ice.


  1. ‘As she sang the room seemed to grow less cold. The sharp separate rays of the little candles changed to one rosy golden blur’ (Dorothy Richardson, ‘Christmas Eve’, 1920)


  1. ‘he was like a million-candled Christmas tree (such as they have in Russia) hung with yellow globes; incandescent; enough to light a whole street by’ (Virginia Woolf, Orlando, 1928)


  1. ‘With our best youlldied greedings to Pep and Memmy and the old folkers below and beyant, wishing them all very merry Incarnations in this land of the livvey and plenty of preprosperousness through their coming new yonks’ (James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, 1939)


  1. ‘Snow was falling; snow had fallen all day. The sky spread like a grey goose’s wing from which feathers were falling all over England. The sky was nothing but a flurry of falling flakes’ (Virginia Woolf, The Years, 1937)


  1. ‘The child wonders at the Christmas Tree | Let him continue in the spirit of wonder | At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext’ (T. S. Eliot, ‘The Cultivation of Christmas Trees’, 1954)


  1. ‘His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead’ (James Joyce, ‘The Dead’, 1914)


  1. ‘For the listener, who listens in the snow, | And, nothing himself, beholds | Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.’ (Wallace Stevens. ‘The Snow Man’, 1921)


  1. ‘Christmas extends laterally in both directions’ (Dorothy Richardson, ‘Post Early’, 1928)


  1. ‘Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day’ (Virginia Woolf, Night and Day, 1919)


  1. ‘cut from the green trees | to fill our need, and over | doorways, about paper Christmas | bells covered with tinfoil | and fastened by red ribbons’ (William Carlos Williams, ‘Burning the Christmas Greens’, 1944)


  1. ‘All this was a long time ago, I remember, | And I would do it again, but set down | This set down | This: were we led all that way for Birth or Death?’ (T. S. Eliot, ‘The Journey of the Magi’, 1927)


  1. ‘Peace and war depend on some fellow’s digestion. Religions. Christmas turkeys and geese. Slaughter of innocents. Eat drink and be merry. Then casual wards full after. Heads bandaged. Cheese digests all but itself. Mity cheese.’ (James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922)



[1] Dorothy Richardson, Deadlock (1921), Chapter III.

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