This book focuses on avant-garde literature and art in Europe and America during the first quarter of the twentieth century. It examines five movements that shaped our response to the demands of the modern age and contributed to the creation of a modern sensibility: Cubism, Futurism, the Metaphysical School, Dada, and Surrealism. Each of these arose in response to recent scientific, technological, and/or philosophical developments that drastically affected modern civilization. In turn, each was responsible for a major paradigm shift that altered the way in which we view—and respond to--the world around us. The final chapter is comparative in nature and studies the role of the mannequin in literature and art during the same period.
Willard Bohn is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature at Illinois State University. He received his Ph. D. in French from the University of California at Berkeley and has been a visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University, the University of Cambridge,and Durham University among others. In 2005 he was elected Oliver Smithies Lecturer, Balliol College, Oxford University. An active scholar, Professor Bohn has published 158 scholarly articles and seventeen books including The Aesthetics of Visual Poetry, The Rise of Surrealism, and The Avant-Garde Imperative.