Theorizing the Avant-Garde

Theorizing the Avant-Garde : Modernism, Expressionism, and the Problem of Postmodernity

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In Modernism, Expressionism and Theories of the Avant Garde, Richard Murphy mobilises theories of the postmodern to challenge our understanding of the avant-garde. He assesses the importance of the avant-garde for contemporary culture and for the debates among theorists of postmodernism such as Jameson, Eagleton, Lyotard and Habermas. Murphy reconsiders the classic formulation of the avant-garde in Lukacs and Bloch, especially their discussion of aesthetic autonomy, and investigates the relationship between art and politics via a discussion of Marcuse, Adorno and Benjamin. Combining close textual readings of a wide range of films as well as works of literature, it draws on a rich array of critical theories, such as those of Bakhtin, Todorov, MacCabe, Belsey and Raymond Williams. This interdisciplinary project will appeal to all those interested in modernist and avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century, and provides a critical rethinking of the present-day controversy regarding postmodernity.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 22mm | 580g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521632919
  • 9780521632911

Table of contents

1. Theories of the avant-garde; 2. Revisions of Burger's theory; 3. Re-writing the discursive world: revolution and the expressionist avant-garde; 4. Counter-discourses of the avant-garde: Jameson, Bakhtin and the problem of realism; 5. Doeblin and the avant-garde poetics of expressionist prose; 6. Benn: modernity and the double bind of rationality; 7. Bakhtin and double voiced discourse: Doeblin's 'The Murder of a Buttercup' and the double bind; 8. The poetics of hysteria: expressionist drama and the melodramatic imagination; 9. Kafka's photograph of the imaginary: dialogical interplay between realism and the fantastic (the metamorphosis); 10. Weimar silent film and expressionism: representational instability and oppositional discourse in The Cabinet of Dr Caligari; 11. Framing the interpretation: the frame-narrative and the conflict of discourses; 12. Towards a poetic of postmodernism: simulation, the sublime and the expressionist avant-garde; 13. Lyotard's postmodern sublime and Habermas's 'enlightenment project of modernity': modernism, mass culture and the avant-garde; Bibliography.
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Review quote

"...original and fascinating..." Journal of English and Germanic Philology "Murphy's book nevertheless makes an entirely persuasive and superbly documented case for the continuing impact of the historical avant-garde on the culture of postmodernity." College Literature
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Rating details

12 ratings
3.25 out of 5 stars
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4 33% (4)
3 42% (5)
2 8% (1)
1 8% (1)
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