Device: The Objects of Russian and American Avant-Garde Poetry, 1905-1945
Weinstein, Michael M.
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CitationWeinstein, Michael M. 2017. Device: The Objects of Russian and American Avant-Garde Poetry, 1905-1945. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractMany histories of the relationship between Russian and American lyric poetry in the twentieth century begin with four, California-based Language poets’ 1989 journey to Leningrad for a conference with their Russian contemporaries. When they arrived, these writers—Lyn Hejinian, Barrett Watten, Michael Davidson, and Ron Silliman—found the innovations of the Russian Formalists and Futurists reflected in their Russian contemporaries’ treatment of the poem itself as an object. This dissertation offers the prehistory of that cross-cultural encounter, from the pre-revolutionary moment of Futurism to the rise of Stalinism and the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. It recounts the history of Russian and American avant-garde poetry in the twentieth century as the story of a shared idea: namely, that the material object offered a conceptual model or ideal for the poem.
The project takes the form of a series of comparative case studies, detailing the often-parallel histories of Russian and American poets’ relationships to this idea. It discusses the work of Gertrude Stein, Velimir Khlebnikov, William Carlos Williams, Vladimir Mayakovsky, George Oppen, and Aleksandr Vvedensky. It argues that the notion of the poem as an object unites these poets, and their respective poetic traditions, and serves to illuminate their shared aesthetic, philosophical, and political concerns over the course of the last century.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41142040
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