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University of Otago Library
De Beer Gallery
Special Collections
First Floor
Central Library
Otago
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The phrase ‘Make it New’ was used by the American poet Ezra Pound and it became a catch-cry for the modernism movement, even though many major works such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse had already appeared. ‘Make It New’ became a model of change, of renaissance and renewal, in which the new is not simply a return to the old. Indeed, drawing on the work of those who have gone before, ‘Making It New’ is (and was) a process of historical recycling, quotation, and re-arrangement.

The exhibition features the works of many modernist writers including James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, and D. H. Lawrence. The medieval elements – forms, themes and narratives – are revealed through works such as The Book of Kells, the works of Plotinus, artist Hans Holbein, and Thomas Aquinas. Modernism’s precursors on show include works by Robert Browning, Walter Pater, and William Morris.