Skip to main content

Distributed for UCL Press

Modern Luck

Narratives of Fortune in the Long Twentieth Century

Distributed for UCL Press

Modern Luck

Narratives of Fortune in the Long Twentieth Century

An exploration of luck in modernity, modern imagination, and modern stories.
Beliefs, superstitions, and tales about luck are present across all human cultures. Humans are perennially fascinated by luck and by its association with happiness and danger, uncertainty and aspiration. Yet it remains an elusive, ungraspable idea, one that slips and slides over time: all cultures reimagine what luck is and how to tame it at different stages in their history, and our own era is no exception to the rule.
Modern Luck sets out to explore the enigma of luck’s presence in modernity, examining the hybrid forms it has taken on in the modern imagination, and in particular in the field of modern stories. Analyzing a rich and unusually eclectic range of narratives taken from literature, film, music, television, and theatre, from Dostoevsky to Philip K. Dick, Pinocchio to Cimino, Curtiz to Kieslowski, it lays out first the usages and meanings of the language of luck, and then the key figures, patterns, and motifs that govern the stories told about it, from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

186 pages | 6.125 x 9.1875

Comparative Literature and Culture

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Media Studies

UCL Press image

View all books from UCL Press

Table of Contents

PrefacePART I1 Something
old, something new2 Word
trees and etymologies

PART II3 Lucky
numbers4 Lucky
places, lucky lines5 The
luckiest man6 Moral
luck and the survivor7 Luck
and the low life8 Early
style and child’s play



Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press