In 1916 Europe’s Empires are falling, nations rising. The years 1917-18 follow, an era of revolutions and state-building in Europe. The revolutionary spirit is not only present in politics but also ... Lesen Sie weiter
In 1916 Europe’s Empires are falling, nations rising. The years 1917-18 follow, an era of revolutions and state-building in Europe. The revolutionary spirit is not only present in politics but also in the arts and sciences challenging our perceptions. Relativity is showcased by the new time-based medium of the Cinématographe. Mobilized images spark
political imagination – an acceleration of world history leads to two revolutions in Russia in 1917. In Russia the cinema itself in the years after the revolutions develops from “decadent” symbolism into a revolutionary art form: the dying swan of the old world metamorphoses into the most important medium of the arts in the hands of the Bolsheviks.
In 1916 the Great War is still being fought, with artists and poets losing their lives: Umberto Boccioni, Franz Marc or Guillaume Apollinaire. In the carnage of the real war military terminology inspires not only political thinkers but also the artistic advance guard. The world of the arts becomes a battlefield in the bold formations of the “Avant-Garde” naming themselves Futurists or Constructivists. This is the time of proclamations and manifestos, when Guilds of Poets and philological circles shaped modern thinking and aesthetics. 1916 is the year of publication of one of
the most influential books on linguistics based on Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale in Geneva, where language “is no longer regarded as peripheral to our grasp of the world we live in, but as central to it.” (Roy Harris) While in 1916 in neutral Switzerland Lenin describes the war led by Empires as the Highest Stage of Capitalism, in the Zürich Cabaret Voltaire a group following Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball, Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuber invent Dadaism, followed by the publication of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the coinage of the term of Surrealism by Apollinaire in France. Similar to professional revolutionaries, artists and writers rebelled against tradition:
Innovation, provocation and self-reflexivity are the backbone of the aesthetical Avant-Garde of the 1910s.
In the seminar we will on the one hand study the end of an epoch as reflected in different European cultures and on the other hand explore how literature and the arts anticipate, foreshadow or instigate revolutions.
G. Apollinaire: Calligrammes. Poems of Peace and War 1913-1916 https://archive.org/details/calligrammespo00apol -