Modernist Experimentation

by zunguzungu

As you know, the modernist period was a time of radical experimentation in literary form; writers like Faulkner and Joyce and Woolf expanded the boundaries of how a story could be told, playing with point of view, tense, and both exceeeding and confounding reader’s expectations. Clearly, all this was an influence on the anonymous writer of the following ad (a mute and inglorious Milton, if ever there was one) for a 1937 Packard:

“Years ago, a little freckle-faced boy watched with envy as a magnificent new motor car went by. To that boy, it was MORE than a motor car. It was a symbol of a way of living that reached above the mere necessities of life. It was an emblem of success. And as his longing eyes followed the disappearing car, I promised him that someday, he, too, would own a Packard. Yes, I was that boy. And today I’m keeping the promise I made to myself some twenty-five years ago. ‘I’m going to get my Packard.'”

Wow! The way past merges with present; so Proustian. And the fragmented sense of identity, don’t get me started on how it articulates history’s dissolution in the advent of the automobile’s explosion of space by time.

Find the ad here.