DADA, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect
Publication Year: 2013
This book deals with the early intellectual reception of the cinema and the manner in which art theorists, philosophers, cultural theorists, and especially artists of the first decades of the twentieth century responded to its advent. While the idea persists that early writers on film were troubled by the cinema’s lowly form, this work proposes that there was another, largely unrecognized, strain in the reception of it. Far from anxious about film’s provenance in popular entertainment, some writers and artists proclaimed that the cinema was the most important art for the moderns, as it exemplified the vibrancy of contemporary life.
This view of the cinema was especially common among those whose commitments were to advanced artistic practices. Their notions about how to recast the art media (or the forms forged from those media’s materials) and the urgency of doing so formed the principal part of the conceptual core of the artistic programs advanced by the vanguard art movements of the first half of the twentieth century. This book, a companion to the author’s previous, Harmony & Dissent, examines the DADA and Surrealist movements as responses to the advent of the cinema.
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Series: Film and Media Studies
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Title Page, Copyright
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This book has been very long in the making, and the debts of gratitude I owe increased proportionately with the time that passed. Simply to list the names of those to whom I must express my thanks risks slighting their contributions, but to state what I owe them would make these acknowledgements unduly protracted. I have decided that better than either of those unpalatable options...
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This book is one in a series of volumes whose topic is the early intellectual reception of the cinema, especially its reception by those who were associated with advanced artistic practices. The series considers the manner in which art theorists, philosophers, cultural theorists, and, especially, artists of the first decades of the twentieth...
1. The Fate of Reason in Modernity
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Vanguard art is not a single, homogeneous phenomenon—it is plural, differentiated, variegated. The variety of forms it has assumed, however, should not mislead us into overestimating the differences among the various practices commonly called modernism. There are, I believe, two main types of vanguard practices. One type...
2. Dadaism and the Disasters of War
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It would be easy enough to frame a history of modern art along Hegelian lines, which represent art history as one of progress, with each advance marked by a decrease in illusion, the elimination from artistic form of features that were accidental to the medium, and an increased truth to the medium’s material. That history would depict modernism’s march ...
3. Surrealism and the Cinema
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In the previous chapters, we explored developments in mathematics, science, and philosophy that suggested to people that, by applying its own methods to itself, reason had exposed its inadequacies as means for unveiling truths about reality. For centuries, the West had believed that nature’s secrets were yielding progressively to reason’s rigorous and painstaking...
In Lieu of a Conclusion
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In Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century, a companion to this volume, I examined the intellectual reception of the cinema and the influence the cinema had on avant-garde art movements in the early twentieth century. There I made the claim that the common view concerning the early reception of the...
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Page Count: 776
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Film and Media Studies