Dada as Text, Thought and Theory

Stephen Forcer

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Research Monographs in French Studies 39

Legenda: Oxford, 2015
£55.00 ($99.00 US)  Hardback  172pp
ISBN: 978-1-907975-83-7

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.


  • ‘Stephen Forcer’s original, timely and impeccably researched monograph is an adventurous and therefore provocative attempt to combine close readings of verbal and visual Dada texts with an imaginative analytical conspectus of the ‘rich inner life’ of the Paris Lodge... Dada wisdom is finally reaching a large audience, both inside and outside universities, during a dürtiger Zeit when that unconventional commodity is becoming more behovely than ever.’ — Richard Sheppard, Journal of European Studies 46.1, 74-75
  • ‘This cogent and wide-ranging study... challenges the reader to reassess Dada as a far from simplistic phenomenon exerting a radical influence on contemporary culture.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 52.2, 2016, 235


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