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Oltreuomo/oltredonna

2 Heroes/heroines of Futurist culture: oltreuomo/oltredonna Jennifer Griffiths Jennifer Griffiths Heroes/heroines of Futurist culture Futurism was born in an atmosphere of Hegelian idealism and Bergsonian pragmatism when philosophers and thinkers were refuting notions of objective removal from political or social affairs and insisting instead upon the importance of engagement. Like Giovanni Gentile’s ‘Actual Idealism’, Marinetti’s Futurism declared any philosopher, writer or artist isolated from life to be culturally bankrupt. Futurism’s assertion about the

in Back to the Futurists

from rational control and constraint, was reiterated and expanded upon one year later in the manifesto Destruction of Syntax. The intoxication of intense life, he wrote, would stir the lyric voice of the individual who will begin by brutally destroying the syntax of his speech. He wastes no time in building sentences. Punctuation and the right adjectives will mean nothing to him. He will despise subtleties and nuances of language. Breathlessly he will assault your nerves with visual, auditory, olfactory sensations, just as they come to him … Fistfuls of essential

in Back to the Futurists
Occultism and the metamorphic self in Florentine Futurism

achievement of enhanced spirituality and modernisation. They also discuss the possibility that all elements in the cosmos are interconnected and continually undergo a metamorphic process. Finally, they argue that matter is both visible and invisible, and that boundaries are ephemeral, including those separating death and life, subjectivity and objectivity, humanity and divinity. Arturo Reghini (1907), who belonged to the Martinist order in Paris and was the founder of the Società Teosofica in Florence, maintains in ‘La vita dello spirito’ (1907) that the universe is

in Back to the Futurists

connections between the individual items on the programme. Whilst conventional theatre is meditative, psychological, concerned with realistic scenes of daily life and bound to cultural traditions, Variety theatre has no ‘traditions, masters, or dogmas’ (Marinetti 2006: 185). Like Futurism, it is indifferent to the ‘immortal masterpieces’ of the past; it destroys ‘the Solemn, the Sacred, the Serious, and the Sublime in Art with a capital A’ (Marinetti 2006: 189) and ridicules the ‘tired old stereotypes – the Beautiful, the Great, the Solemn, the Religious’ (Marinetti 2006

in Back to the Futurists
The Vorticist critique of Futurism, 1914–1919

April 1914, 4) scornfully dismissed Futurism as ‘Lunacy Masquerading as Art’. Early in May 1914 was the point when Lewis began to turn against Futurism. One straw in the wind was his reference in the New Weekly (30 May 1914) to Marinetti as ‘the intellectual Cromwell of our time’ – not quite the encomium one might imagine (Wees 1972: 100).1 At the time Oliver Cromwell was widely regarded as an authoritarian religious fanatic, decidedly ‘un-English’ for regarding himself as ‘God’s Instrument’ on earth and for his supposed very personal relationship with the Almighty

in Back to the Futurists
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Dostoevskii (1821–1881) and Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) during his lifetime. Yet, because he had both supported revolution in his early years and reviled the Bolsheviks at the end of his life, Andreev found no defenders among Russian émigrés living abroad or literary scholars in the Soviet Union. Within a decade after his death, and for roughly thirty years thereafter, his literary works were largely ignored. This book invites reconsideration of one of the leading authors of the Russian fin de siècle, concentrating on a neglected area of his life and work. Andreev was

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
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unanswered by scholars. Although there will always be differing opinions, Andreev’s experience with neurasthenia (specifically depression and anxiety) offers keys to understanding his personal life (drinking binges, mood swings, romantic endeavors) and literary themes (performance, institutional spaces, illness narrative). In so doing, I have attempted to show how this might then alter our understanding of Andreev’s literary allegiances (realist or symbolist), how his literary works interacted with the popular science of the day (degeneration theory) and why this

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle
Stanley Spencer’s ‘ordinary’ ekphrases

demonstrate the plasticity of ekphrasis and the extent to which closely following an artist’s writings on – or indeed Stanley Spencer’s ‘ordinary’ ekphrases201 for – art may help in turn to move theory on. After all, ekphrasis is ‘a representation of thinking about a picture more than a representation of a picture’.26 To follow all the twists and turns of the artist’s thought is an experience at first hand, although those thoughts sometimes follow a whim of their own. Notes   1 ‘I felt without any alteration to either, that the religious experience & the ordinary life

in Ekphrastic encounters
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, religious and social opposition in Russia was recognized as a symptom of moral illness, confusing religious theory with medical and social science.84 Kaun sees a Nietzschean subtext in the story, that faith is the enemy of reason: ‘Faith keeps the unfortunates in obedience and submission, by justifying the unjustifiable, by lulling discontent to sleep with the aid of such narcotic illusions as sin and penalty, virtue and reward, God and future life.’85 Woodward views ‘The Life of Vasilii Fiveiskii’ in parallel with ‘The Thought’ – the latter is about a struggle with

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle

Babylon, Nineveh, Rome and the mysteries of modern metropolitan life.’126 Babylon was certainly chosen by Andreev for its symbolic representation of deviance (both biblical and scientific), which makes the contrast with the serene conditions in the insane asylum all the more compelling. In the asylum, there is a different set of religious references. Pomerantsev has a relationship with St Nicholas, who is one of the most revered Russian Orthodox saints and, among other things, is known for his defense of the falsely accused. In the final chapter, St Nicholas appears

in Degeneration, decadence and disease in the Russian fin de siècle