I am fond of quoting a bit from Harry Mathews' interview in The Paris Review:
Do you not care whether your stories make sense?
I don't say there is no sense or no meaning. There is, but it's not one that exists outside of the work. Robert Louis Stevenson--and he's not exactly considered a modernist writer--once wrote: "The novel, which is a work of art, exists, not by its resemblances to life, which are forced and material, as a shoe must consist of leather, but by its immeasurable difference from life, which is both designed and significant, and is both the method and the meaning of the work." For me, that's it. He's really my favorite prose writer of all. His pithiness and efficiency--he says an awful lot in that one sentence.
How to get over, how to escape from, the besotting particularity of fiction. "Roland approached the house; it had green doors and window blinds; and there was a scraper on the upper step." To hell with Roland and the scraper! Yours ever, R.L.S. (to Henry James, 1893)
This seems to me to mirror exactly what Josipovici, at least, took Valéry's concern with sentences like "the Marquis went out at five" to be, in What Ever Happened to Modernism; it's too bad that (at least there) no notice is taken of this peculiar similarity—it would for one thing help Josipovici in his claim that modernism isn't a matter of stylistic habits.