The Invention of Politics in the European Avant-Garde (1906-1940)


In 1906, for the first time in his life, F.T. Marinetti connected the term ‘avant-garde’ with the idea of the future, thus paving the way for what is now commonly called the ‘modernist’ or ‘historical avant-garde’. Since 1906 the ties between the early twentieth-century European aesthetic vanguard and politics have been a matter of debate. With a century gone by, The Invention of Politics in the European Avant-Garde takes stock of this debate. Opening with a critical introduction to the vast research archive on the subject, this book proposes to view the avant-garde as a political force in its own right that may have produced solutions to problems irresolvable within its democratic political constellation. In a series of essays that combine close readings of texts and plastic works with a thorough knowledge of their political context, the book looks at avant-garde works as media producing political thought and experience. Covering the canonised avant-garde movements of Futurism, Expressionism, Dadaism and Surrealism, but also focussing on the avant-garde in Europe’s geographical outskirts, this book will appeal to all those interested in the modernist avant-garde.
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Table of contents

Sascha BRU: The Phantom League. The Centennial Debate on the Avant-Garde and Politics
The Politics of Community
Kirsten STROM: “Sometimes I Spit for Pleasure on My Mother's Portrait”. On the Strategic Uses of Inflammatory Rhetoric in Surrealism
Gunther MARTENS: Framing Literary Speech Acts of Political Modernity. Notes on Hermann Broch, Karl Kraus and Expressionism
Laura WINKIEL: The Rhetoric of Violence. Avant-Garde Manifestoes and the Myth of Racial Community
Steven ENGELS: Uncanny Polemics and Ambivalent Reappraisals. The French Debate on Surrealism on the Eve of the Cold War
Malynne STERNSTEIN: Ecstatic Subjects. Citizenship and Sex in Czech Surrealism
Hubert F. van den BERG: From a New Art to a New Life and a New Man. Avant-Garde Utopianism in dada
Günter BERGHAUS: The Futurist Political Party
Raymond SPITERI: Surrealism and the Political. The Case of Nadja
Thomas HUNKELER: Cultural Hegemony and Avant-Garde Rivalry. The Ambivalent Reception of Futurism in France, England and Russia
Renée M. SILVERMAN: A Europeanizing Geography. The First Spanish Avant-Garde’s Remapping of Castile (1914-1925)
Benedikt HJARTARSON: Dragging Nordic Horses past the Sludge of Extremes. The Beginnings of the Icelandic Avant-Garde


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