Archive for the avant-garde category

Sidney Finkelstein vs Marshall McLuhan

Out of the mothballs: Sense and Nonsense of McLuhan by Sidney Finkelstein: Contents Chapter 4: “The Medium and the Deceptive Message” (extract) Chapter 6: “Hot, Cool and the Brainless Involvement” (extracts) Chapter 7: McLuhan’s Totalitarianism and Human Resilience This is ancient history, and quaint from the vantage point of today’s high tech media saturated environment. But the […]

Time travel lore (5): ‘Victory Over the Sun’

Victory Over the Sun (1913) is a notorious specimen of Russian Futurism, a multimedia avant-garde opera that makes practically no sense. Wikipedia provides the basic information: “The libretto written in zaum language was contributed by Aleksei Kruchonykh, the music was written by Mikhail Matyushin, the prologue was added by Velimir Khlebnikov, and the stage designer […]

Existential America (7): Highway 61 revisited

When I first read George Cotkin’s Existential America several years ago, I came across this review: T. H. Adamowski, “Out on Highway 61: Existentialism in America,” University of Toronto Quarterly, Volume 74, Number 4, Fall 2005, pp. 913-933. From this link you can download a PDF of the full text. The reviewer is obviously highly […]

Existential America revisited

Cotkin, George. Existential America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. Contents: Acknowledgements Chapter One Introduction 1741-1949: American Existentialists before the Fact Chapter Two The “Drizzly November” of the American Soul 1928-1955: Kierkegaardian Moments Chapter Three Kierkegaard Comes to America Chapter Four A Kierkegaardian Age of Anxiety 1944-1960: The Era of French Existentialism Chapter Five The […]

Patalogic in the Garden of Sidamo

Patalogic in the Garden of Sidamo By Ralph Dumain And the desart wild Become a garden mild. —William Blake, ‘The Little Girl Lost’, Songs of Experience Drinking coffee in a garden, sitting under a bright red sun umbrella affixed to a table, reading René Daumal’s Pataphysical Essays. This little paperback, published just last year, is […]

The Intuitionist & Irrealist Literature

Some years ago I briefly reviewed Colson Whitehead’s first novel: An Enigmatic Historical Moment in Fiction: Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist (Book Review) I just stumbled across another review: Irrealism in the U.S.A. (reviews of books by Donald Antrim, Stephen Millhauser and Colson Whitehead) by Alice Whittenburg, The Cafe Irreal If you want to learn about […]

Word Rain

Circa 1970, when I was a teenager, my imagination became captivated by surrealism. Journeying multiple times a week to the main library in downtown Buffalo, New York, I sought out various books on the avant-garde art movements, not to mention pulling volumes off the shelves in “New Books” sections that aroused my curiosity. I still […]