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Bombing Cultural Heritage: Nancy Cunard, Art Humanitarianism, and Primitivist Wars in Morocco, Ethiopia, and Spain

Bombing Cultural Heritage: Nancy Cunard, Art Humanitarianism, and Primitivist Wars in Morocco,... This article examines Nancy Cunard's later writing on Spain as a direct legacy of her previous projects as a modernist poet, publisher and black rights activist. Cunard was a rare analyst of the links between total war, colonial counter-insurgency, and cultural destruction. Noting the desire of both the air power theorist and art collector to stereotype peoples, from Morocco to Ethiopia to Spain, as ‘primitive’, the article brings original archival materials from Cunard's notes into dialogue with her journalism, and published and unpublished poetry, to examine how she reclaimed and repurposed primitivism. Her poems devise a metonymic and palimpsestic literary geopolitics, juxtaposing fragments from ancient cultures atop one another to argue, simultaneously, for Spain's essential dignity as both a primitive and a civilised nation. Cunard reconciles Spain's liminal status, between Africa and Europe, to argue for Spain's art, and people, as part of a syncretic, universal human cultural heritage, anticipating the art humanitarianism of organisations such as UNESCO. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Bombing Cultural Heritage: Nancy Cunard, Art Humanitarianism, and Primitivist Wars in Morocco, Ethiopia, and Spain

Modernist Cultures , Volume 17 (2): 30 – May 1, 2022

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2022.0368
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines Nancy Cunard's later writing on Spain as a direct legacy of her previous projects as a modernist poet, publisher and black rights activist. Cunard was a rare analyst of the links between total war, colonial counter-insurgency, and cultural destruction. Noting the desire of both the air power theorist and art collector to stereotype peoples, from Morocco to Ethiopia to Spain, as ‘primitive’, the article brings original archival materials from Cunard's notes into dialogue with her journalism, and published and unpublished poetry, to examine how she reclaimed and repurposed primitivism. Her poems devise a metonymic and palimpsestic literary geopolitics, juxtaposing fragments from ancient cultures atop one another to argue, simultaneously, for Spain's essential dignity as both a primitive and a civilised nation. Cunard reconciles Spain's liminal status, between Africa and Europe, to argue for Spain's art, and people, as part of a syncretic, universal human cultural heritage, anticipating the art humanitarianism of organisations such as UNESCO.

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: May 1, 2022

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