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Title: Italian futurism and the development of English literary modernism, 1909-1915
Author: Jakeman, Robyn Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 5622
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis considers the role of Italian Futurism in the development of English literary modernism between 1909 and 1915. It maps a set of complex and heterogeneous responses to the movement, involving both rejection and appropriation, in which attempts to experiment with English literature are undertaken in a bid to become 'modern'. I argue that Futurism represented for many English modernists a profoundly relevant approach to a social and cultural crisis that had emerged in the late nineteenth century. In this sense, Futurism was less a movement to be officially joined than a methodology that was appropriated in order to subvert and develop finde-siècle cultural discourses. The thesis is divided into four chapters. Chapter one addresses Futurism's inception in the internationalised space of cultural production of Europe before the First World War, and the movement's emergence in England. It suggests that Futurism was frequently understood as a means of transforming social discourses of decline, cultural discourses of Decadence, and the relationship between art and the public. The second chapter explores Harold Monro's interactions with F. T. Marinetti and his publication of Futurist poetry in Poetry and Drama, and considers how Monro transmitted Futurism to an English readership to suggest ways of developing Decadent and Symbolist poetry. Chapter three examines Wyndham Lewis's use of Futurist strategies in Vorticism to negotiate the Aestheticist divide between art and life, but also shows how tensions between the two movements continue to manifest in Blast. The fourth chapter considers Mina Loy's writings in the context of Futurist discourses and New Woman debates in Florence, demonstrating how she appropriated Futurist methods to inform her feminist thought and disrupt the basis on which gendered difference is predicated. I conclude the thesis by considering the implications of my work for the field of modernist studies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available