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‘On or about December 1910’: F. T. Marinetti's Onslaught on London and Recursive Structures in Modernism

‘On or about December 1910’: F. T. Marinetti's Onslaught on London and Recursive Structures in... <jats:p> Many accounts of the formative years of English modernism rely on Futurism's own questionable record of F. T. Marinetti's visit to London in the spring of 1910 as the catalyst for an avant-garde revolution in Anglo-American literature that led through Roger Fry's revolutionary Post-Impressionist exhibition to Imagism, and onto Vorticism. New evidence presented here, however, supports the position advanced by a number of scholars that Marinetti did not visit until after Fry's exhibition. We can now quite precisely date Marinetti's important ‘Futurist Speech to the English’ to Tuesday 13 December 1910, rather than to the spring of that year as previously thought. Close examination of the content and context of this lecture, to an audience of Suffragettes at the Lyceum Club for Women, highlights the sheer extent of Marinetti's propaganda drive between 1908 and 1910, as he attempted to garner support for his movement and neutralise the satirical attitude of the mainstream English press. Moreover, Futurism, it appears, actively altered the historical record in order to genealogically prioritise itself. Such a process finds itself recursively working back into modernist studies, through a process in which theories of British historical and cultural decline or inferiority, alongside a presupposition of the continental avant-garde's guiding influence, tend to unconsciously take root in studies of literature of this period. In contrast and as illustration, we can find in one of Wyndham Lewis's early essays – previously considered imitative of, but now clearly an influence upon, Marinetti – the extent to which ‘on or about December 1910’ British society and culture was already in the process of radicalizing itself. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

‘On or about December 1910’: F. T. Marinetti's Onslaught on London and Recursive Structures in Modernism

Modernist Cultures , Volume 10 (2): 135 – Jul 1, 2015

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2015
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2015.0106
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> Many accounts of the formative years of English modernism rely on Futurism's own questionable record of F. T. Marinetti's visit to London in the spring of 1910 as the catalyst for an avant-garde revolution in Anglo-American literature that led through Roger Fry's revolutionary Post-Impressionist exhibition to Imagism, and onto Vorticism. New evidence presented here, however, supports the position advanced by a number of scholars that Marinetti did not visit until after Fry's exhibition. We can now quite precisely date Marinetti's important ‘Futurist Speech to the English’ to Tuesday 13 December 1910, rather than to the spring of that year as previously thought. Close examination of the content and context of this lecture, to an audience of Suffragettes at the Lyceum Club for Women, highlights the sheer extent of Marinetti's propaganda drive between 1908 and 1910, as he attempted to garner support for his movement and neutralise the satirical attitude of the mainstream English press. Moreover, Futurism, it appears, actively altered the historical record in order to genealogically prioritise itself. Such a process finds itself recursively working back into modernist studies, through a process in which theories of British historical and cultural decline or inferiority, alongside a presupposition of the continental avant-garde's guiding influence, tend to unconsciously take root in studies of literature of this period. In contrast and as illustration, we can find in one of Wyndham Lewis's early essays – previously considered imitative of, but now clearly an influence upon, Marinetti – the extent to which ‘on or about December 1910’ British society and culture was already in the process of radicalizing itself. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Jul 1, 2015

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