Published twice annually, the
Journal of Avant-Garde Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for critical discussion of the experimental, the outrageous, and the unclassifiable in the arts and literature, from the heyday of modernism to today. The perspective is global, the theoretical approaches are diverse, and the eligible subjects range from the famous to the forgotten.
JAGS seeks to broaden and enrich our history of the vanguard.
This article analyses the reception of Beat literature in Iceland, focusing on translations of works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs from the early 1960s to the present day. The translation history sheds an interesting light not only on the role of Beat poetry in the Icelandic context, but also on the dynamics of the local cultural field. The first Beat poem to appear in Icelandic was Ginsberg’s “To Lindsay” in 1960, further landmarks being the translation of Kerouac’s On the Road in 1988 and the first collection of Ginsberg’s poetry in Icelandic in 2003. Beat has played only a marginal role within the Icelandic literary system, mainly serving as an extreme example of the modern tradition, the value of which has been linked with progressive modes of artistic expression rather than with Bohemian lifestyle, modes of cultural subversion or a cult of hedonism and excess.
This paper analyses the relations between esperantism and the activities of the historical avant-garde on two different levels. Firstly, it discusses how both Esperanto and the avant-garde represented a radical response to the growing impulse of nationalist ideology in Europe and aimed, in different terms, at the creation of a new universal or ‘anational’ language. Secondly, the paper aims at a historical reconstruction of the connections between the transnational networks of Esperanto and the historical avantgarde, by focusing on publications of avant-garde texts in journals and anthologies in Esperanto and publications of texts in Esperanto in avantgarde journals in the early 20th century, as well as on original experimental literature written in Esperanto in the period. The literary system of Esperanto served as a decentralised forum in which works and aesthetic concepts were picked up from the centres and then circulated along the periphery.
Decentring the Avant-Garde presents a collection of articles dealing with the topography of the avant-garde. The focus is on different responses to avant-garde aesthetics in regions traditionally depicted as cultural, geographical and linguistic peripheries. Avant-garde activities in the periphery have to date mostly been described in terms of a passive reception of new artistic trends and currents originating in cultural centres such as Paris or Berlin. Contesting this traditional view,
Decentring the Avant-Garde highlights the importance of analysing the avant-garde in the periphery in terms of an active appropriation of avant-garde aesthetics within different cultural, ideological and historical settings. A broad collection of case studies discusses the activities of movements and artists in various regions in Europe and beyond. The result is a new topographical model of the international avant-garde and its cultural practices.