The Muse in a Pet.


Literatur: [anonym]
Literatur: The Dial
Literatur: "1913"
Literatur: Futurismus-Rezeption


In his brilliant but hopelessly wrong-headed essay on Victor Hugo, Frederic Myers comments upon a poem in "L'Année Terrible" in which the author "paints at great length and with startling rhetoric the possibility that God may at last be found to have deceived us all along – that 'the moral cosmos may be reduced to a chaos,' and man, the sport of destiny, expire in a ruined universe." In that event, the poet informs us that he himself, "terrible, indigné, calme, extraordinaire," will denounce God to his own thunders. Whereupon the essayist remarks: "M. Hugo, forsooth, would be terrible! M. Hugo would be calm! M. Hugo would be extraordinary! It seems likely that at the crack of doom even M. Hugo might see something more terrible and extraordinary than himself." Signor Marinetti, the Italian apostle of "futurism," would meet such an exigency unperturbed. That he can be "more than usual calm" under trying circumstances we know from his own admission. When, two or three years ago, he confronted in the Mercadante Theatre of Naples a hostile audience of "pastists," he showed his quality in a way which only his own words can fittingly describe. "Suddenly, among the parabolas of potatoes and rotten fruits, I caught on the fly an orange thrown at me. I peeled it with the greatest calmness, and ate it slowly, by sections." This daring action turned the tide; the audience which came to curse remained to applaud, and "I hastened, of course, to thank the bellowing crowd by hurling fresh insults at them." We are not told how many heads were broken in the scrimmage that followed, and our chief interest in the episode lies in the fact that there are still to be found somewhere in our indifferent modern world audiences who can get really excited over discussions of art and literature. If we could only detach from the subject to which the pink envelopes of our newspapers are devoted even a small fraction of the popular interest which it commands, and divert this interest to some subject of high human concern, such as poetry or painting, we should accomplish something really worth while, and put all our expensive educational institutions to shame.

The bedlamite ravings of the futurists, and [246] their nightmare creations of the pen and the brush, have at least this of value: they arouse passions and provoke thought. Worthier objects of passion and thought there doubtless are in the world of art, but a lively interest in things æsthetic, even if stimulated by the most ignoble examples, is better than no interest at all, for that way lies spiritual stagnation. Thus in poetry a Marinetti or an Ezra Pound may have his uses, and the Muse in a pet, or a tantrum, although bad-mannered and unconcerned with the amenities of criticism, may serve to remind us of the existence of Parnassus, a fact which men battening on the moors of philistinism are in danger of forgetting. As Mr. Scott-James has just said in "The North American Review," "poetry has now become a mentionable subject in decent society," which is a condition of things that we must applaud, even if we owe it to poets and critics who browse upon only the lower slopes of the sacred hill or who wallow in the morasses at its base.

The futurist muse has very decided ideas of what she does not like in poetry, although the sort of thing she offers as a substitute is, to say the least, disconcerting. She is bent, according to Signor Marinetti, upon the destruction at any cost of these four intellectual poisons: "1, The sickly and nostalgic poetry of distance and recollection; 2, Romantic sentimentalism rippling in the moonlight, with its fatal ideal of woman-beauty; 3, The obsession of lust, with the triangle of adultery, the pepper of incest, and the exciting seasoning of sin in the Christian sense; 4, The deep passion for the past, accompanied by the craze of the antiquarian and collector." Poetry without these themes or sources of inspiration would be considerably at a loss, we should say. After such a clean sweep of his normal sustenance from the board, the poet might well feel himself, as Tennyson did after he had been FitzGerald's (vegetarian) guest for some weeks,

                        "A thing enskied
(As Shakespeare has it) airy light
To float above the ways of men."

The only writers of the past (poets or others) that futurism accepts as having at least groped toward the right path are Emile Zola, Walt Whitman, Rosny ainé, Paul Adam, Octave Mirbeau, Gustave Kahn, and Verhaeren. All the others are left to the outer darkness.

But we must not forget the automobile and the aeroplane and the blast furnace, for these are types of the energy which is so dear to the futurist mind, and are the effective substitutes offered for all the sentimental rubbish of the past. With these symbols one can go far in the futurist world of creating, and it, is no wonder that we find Signor Marinetti lecturing the English Upon "ce déplorable Ruskin," who despised them so heartily. Futurism is nothing if not thorough-going, and it lays its axe at the very roots of the written language. Punctuation, adjectives, and adverbs are all to be abolished, and all verbs are to be used in the infinitive. When the rules of diction laid down for writers are relentlessly applied, we get such a farrago as the following, which is taken from a sample piece of descriptive writing devoted to the battle-field: "Tours canons virilité volées érection télémètre extase toumbtoumb 3 secondes toumb-toumb flots sourires rires ploff plouff glouglouglouglou cache-cache cristaux vierges chair bijoux perles iodes sels bromes jupons gaz liqueurs bulles 3 secondes." It reads like a cipher cable code, and if such is to be the literature of the future, we shall all have to begin our education over again. The futurist manifesto offers us one delightful rule of conduct so inclusive as to make most further directions superfluous. "We must spit upon the altar of art every day." Simple and to the point! Signor Marinetti reminds us of the bad boy who, in "The Session of the Poets," created a scandal by getting up and shouting: "I disbelieve wholly in everything! There!"

In a frequently quoted letter, Ibsen speaks of the time, now near at hand, when we shall advance with a leap into the coming age. "Hej! How ideas will tumble about us!" Ideas certainly tumble about us when we get into futurist company, and the dégringolade of the old æsthetic order assails our ears with such a clattering as might be imagined if the gentleman in the futurist painting, "Nu descendant l'escalier," should suddenly fall to pieces. It would be a matter for jest merely, were it not the logical outcome of that sinister tendency of our time to reject all the established teachings and ideals of the past, all the rules of conduct and canons of belief by which the social and the intellectual order have thus far been kept together, and the history of civilization held in continuity. If we dally overmuch with the destructive notions that are invading our political and social life on every hand, and refuse recognition to the old settled sanctities of conduct and belief, we shall assuredly be called upon to pay some kind of a penalty, and no light one, for our indecision. History will [247] always be mankind's best mentor, and the term "pastist," coined for reproach by our amusing futurist friends, will be accepted as a title of honor by every serious fighter for human welfare.





Erstdruck und Druckvorlage

The Dial.
A Semi-Monthly Journal of Literary Criticism, Discussion, and Information.
Bd. 55, 1913, Nr. 655, 1. Oktober, S. 245-247.


Die Textwiedergabe erfolgt nach dem ersten Druck (Editionsrichtlinien).

The Dial   online
URL: https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000052812
URL: https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/serial?id=thedial







Literatur: [anonym]

Brandmeyer, Rudolf: Poetiken der Lyrik: Von der Normpoetik zur Autorenpoetik. In: Handbuch Lyrik. Theorie, Analyse, Geschichte. Hrsg. von Dieter Lamping. 2. Aufl. Stuttgart 2016, S. 2-15.

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Literatur: The Dial

Bains, Christopher: Le Paris d'Ezra Pound: utopie et exil dans les pages de The New Age et The Dial. In: Revues modernistes anglo-américaines. Lieux d'échanges, lieux d’exil. Hrsg. von Benoît Tadié. Paris 2006, S. 79-93.

Britzolakis, Christina: Making Modernism Safe for Democracy. The Dial (1920-9). In: The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Hrsg. von Peter Brooker u.a. Bd. 2: North America 1894-1960. Oxford 2012, S. 85-102.

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Literatur: "1913"

Asendorf, Christoph: Widersprüchliche Optionen: Stationen der Künste 1913 In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.1 (2013), S. 191–206.

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Brion-Guerry, Liliane (Hrsg.): L'année 1913. Les formes esthétiques de l'œuvre d'art à la veille de la première guerre mondiale. 3 Bde. Paris 1971/73.
Bd. 3 (1973): Manifestes et témoignages.

Camelin, Colette / Berranger, Marie-Paule (Hrsg.): 1913: cent ans après. Enchantements et désenchantements. Paris 2015 (= Collection: Colloque de Cerisy).

Chickering, Roger: Das Jahr 1913. Ein Kommentar. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 39.1 (2014), S. 137-143.

Dowden, Stephen D.: Vienna 1913: dans le vrai. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.2 (2013), S. 452-468.

Emmerson, Charles: 1913. In Search for the World before the Great War. New York 2013.

Erhart, Walter: Literatur 1913. Zeit ohne Geschichte? Perspektiven synchronoptischer Geschichtsschreibung. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 39.1 (2014), S. 123-136.

Hamburger, Michael: 1912. In: Ders., Reason and Energy. Studies in German Literature. London 1957, S. 213-236.

Hübinger, Gangolf: Das Jahr 1913 in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Zur Einführung in den Themenschwerpunkt. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.1 (2013), S. 172-190.

Illies, Florian: 1913. Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts. Frankfurt a.M. 2015 (= Fischer-TaschenBibliothek).

Jauß, Hans R.: Die Epochenschwelle von 1912: Guillaume Apollinaires 'Zone' und 'Lundi Rue Christine'. In: Ders., Studien zum Epochenwandel der ästhetischen Moderne. Frankfurt a.M. 1989 (= suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, 864), S. 216-256.

Johnson, J. Theodore: The Year 1913: An Interdisciplinary Course. In: Teaching Literature and Other Arts. Hrsg. von Jean-Pierre Barricelli u.a. New York 1990, S. 108-115.

Klausnitzer, Ralf: "Literarische Kunst". Richard Moritz Meyers Beobachtungen des Jahres 1913 und die Gegenwart der Vergangenheit. In: Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 38.2 (2013), S. 514-539.

Kushner, Marilyn S. u.a. (Hrsg.): The Armory Show at 100. Modernism and Revolution. London 2013.

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Rabaté, Jean-Michel: 1913. The Cradle of Modernism. Malden, MA 2007.

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Literatur: Futurismus-Rezeption

Adamowicz, Elza u.a. (Hrsg.): Back to the Futurists. The Avant-Garde and Its Legacy. Manchester u.a. 2013.

Berghaus, Günter (Hrsg.): International Futurism in Arts and Literature. Berlin u. New York 2000.

Berghaus, Günter (Hrsg.): Handbook of International Futurism. Berlin 2019.

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Lawton, Anna / Eagle, Herbert (Hrsg.): Words in Revolution. Russian Futurist Manifestoes, 1912-1928. Washington 2005.

Lee, Sze Wah Sarah: Futurism in English Art and Literature: The Response of Imagism and Vorticism. In: International Yearbook of Futurism Studies 8 (2018), S. 30-56.

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Schmidt-Bergmann, Hansgeorg: Die Anfänge der literarischen Avantgarde in Deutschland. Über Anverwandlung und Abwehr des italienischen Futurismus. Ein literarhistorischer Beitrag zum expressionistischen Jahrzehnt. Stuttgart 1991.
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Lyriktheorie » R. Brandmeyer