One of the most controversial and ironic of twentieth-century modernisms, Dada swept through the arts after the shock of World War I, when poets, painters, filmmakers, and performers joined forces to challenge conventions of society and art. The only collection of its kind, this volume includes writings by leading Dadaists: Hugo Ball, Kurt Schwitters, Richard Huelsenbeck,One of the most controversial and ironic of twentieth-century modernisms, Dada swept through the arts after the shock of World War I, when poets, painters, filmmakers, and performers joined forces to challenge conventions of society and art. The only collection of its kind, this volume includes writings by leading Dadaists: Hugo Ball, Kurt Schwitters, Richard Huelsenbeck, Roger Vitrac, Tristan Tzara, Emmy Hennings, Francis Picabia, and others....
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Dada Performance Reviews
Invaluable primary source collection for Zurich, Berlin, Cologne, and Paris Dada actions. A lot comprises dada theater, which may be somewhat bewildering or nonsensical in print form where the spectacle of it would otherwise be clearer in production, but there are great items here. My favorites include the (possibly fantastical) soiré reviews, including accounts of audience revolt, followed shortly by a Breton/Souppault piece with similar audience uprising scripted into the play's action itself. The later works really show the movement's evolution towards more refined and innovative forms than pure provocation.
What to make of the dada movement, a dream hatched in an exuberant and anarchic spirit of fun and outrage in Zurich and slowly, strangely became a literary and aesthetic movement that took itself very seriously indeed.This collection, an early publication by PAJ (Performing Arts Journal) Books, is a suitable introduction to dadaism although in the years since its publication, fuller histories and more comprehensive collections of texts have become available.One difference is this edition's emphasis on theatre, including the spirit of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, with Hugo Ball's performances and the exuberant, anarchic, and often surprising poetry. There are several complete translations of several plays by Vitrac, Tzara, Breton, and others. There are also photographs and posters throughout.This is a good find used if you are looking for a light introduction and some representative plays and poetry. For more intermediate study, you can stretch your dollars further.
Dada - the grand-daddy of surrealism, situationism, punk and so much else in the 20th century cultural-political underground - seems to me to have been one of those things you needed to be there to get. The scripts, texts and performance piece reproduced here do nothing to disabuse me of that sense, but they are simply fabulous. And Mel Gordon's introduction is one of the sharpest brief expositions on the movement and its styles I have seen.
I enjoyed the book but left it with more questions about Dada than I knew I could have.