PhD ceremony: Mr. B. Hjartarson, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: Das frühe avantgardistische Manifest. Eine diskurshistorische Analyse
Promotor(s): prof. G.J. Dorleijn, prof. H. van den Berg
Modern occultism played an important role in the activities and aesthetics of avant-garde movements in Europe in the early 20th century. Most importantly, the influence of occultism was not limited to a specific field or specific movements, but played a constitutive role in the politics of the historical avant-garde in the early 20th century in general. This becomes most obvious in the genre of the manifesto, which served as an irrational medium for social revolution and spiritual regeneration.
Benedikt Hjartarson describes the epistemic shifts that led the manifesto to play a superordinate role in the generic hierarchy of the historical avant-garde movements, by reconstructing the complex discursive overlappings of political radicalism, philosophical vitalism and modern occultism in the early 20th century. The historical avant-garde picked up discursive fragments from these different traditions and linked their attempts at political revolution, cultural revitalization and spiritual regeneration together in an allegedly synthetic project of total aesthetic renewal. The manifesto functioned as the driving force of this project, not only as an instrument for putting forth programmatic statements, but also as a medium for its realization. The early avant-garde manifesto was founded on a radical notion of voluntarism, enrooted in vitalism and modern occultism, which assigned the linguistic performance of the manifesto a constitutive role in the process of evoking a new, genuinely modern, dynamic subjectivity. The integration of discursive fragments from the extra-literary fields of vitalism and modern occultism into the aesthetic field played a key role in redefining the idea of the political in the early avant-garde manifesto, the genre being transformed from an instrument of political action into a revolutionary, profoundly irrational linguistic medium.
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