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Anarchy and Culture : Aesthetic Politics of Modernism - David Weir

Anarchy and Culture

Aesthetic Politics of Modernism

Paperback Published: 15th October 1997
ISBN: 9781558490840
Number Of Pages: 313
For Ages: 22+ years old

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Anarchism is generally understood as a failed ideology, a political philosophy that once may have had many followers but today attracts only cranks and eccentrics. This book argues that the decline of political anarchism is only half the story; the other half is a tale of widespread cultural success.

David Weir develops this thesis in several ways. He begins by considering the place of culture in the political thought of the classical anarchist thinkers William Godwin, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, and Peter Kropotkin. He then shows how the perceived "anarchy" of nineteenth-century society induced writers such as Matthew Arnold, Henry James, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky to turn away from politics and seek unity in the idea of a common culture.

Yet as other late-nineteenth-century writers and artists began to sympathize with anarchism, the prospect of a common culture became increasingly remote. In Weir's view, the affinity for anarchism that developed among members of the artistic avant-garde lies behind much of fin de siecle culture. Indeed, the emergence of modernism itself can be understood as the aesthetic realization of anarchist politics. In support of this contention, Weir shows that anarchism is the key aesthetic principle informing the work of a broad range of modernist figures, from Henrik Ibsen and James Joyce to dadaist Hugo Ball and surrealist Luis Bunuel.

Weir concludes by reevaluating the phenomenon of postmodernism as only the most recent case of the migration of politics into aesthetics, and by suggesting that anarchism is still very much with us as a cultural condition.

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Definitions the Ideologies of Anarchismp. 11
Reactions Anarchism as Cultural Threatp. 42
Resp0nses Culture in the Anarchist Campp. 87
Affinities Anarchism and Cultural Promotionp. 116
Aesthetics from Politics to Culturep. 158
Artists Anarchism and Cultural Productionp. 201
Afterwordp. 259
Notesp. 269
Indexp. 297
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781558490840
ISBN-10: 1558490841
Series: Critical Perspectives on Modern Culture
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 313
Published: 15th October 1997
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.45