Dada as Text, Thought and Theory
History of ideas
Research Monographs in French Studies 39
Legenda: Oxford, July 2015
The Dada movement, revered as perhaps the purest form of cultural subversion and provocation in 20th-century Europe, has been a victim of the readiness with which cultural historians have swallowed its own propaganda. Based on extensive close analysis of French-language Dada work in its original form, and offering English translations throughout, this major reappraisal looks at a broad range of media and topics – including poetry, film, philosophy, and quantum physics – in order to get beyond Dada’s typecasting as avant-garde anti-hero. Work by women writers and other marginalized figures combines with that of canonical Dadaists to present Dada in a radically new set of guises: poetic and textually subtle; intellectually and philosophically meaningful; peaceable and quasi-Buddhist; and, perhaps most uncomfortably of all, conformist and reactionary.
Stephen Forcer is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Birmingham.