Dadaism, war-time art, and Eliot

Looking into Dada and Dadaism reminded me of other war-time art such as Vorticism and Blast. I think that the war and atmosphere of cultures surrounding it affected all these authors in similar nihilistic, disjointed ways. One of the first things that stood out to me was the way that both magazines manipulate their typography to show the disjointedness in their pieces and philosophy. I’m sure that there is more to be said about their relationship between Eliot, Blast, and 291, but I can only repeat what’s been said about the disjointedness affecting Eliot and his poetry. I relate this to Part II, A Game of Chess and the PTSD couple. But, I feel that’s a bit obvious. I’m interested in what comparisons to other parts of the texts other people could draw.

The Wikipedia article offers a link to Hugo Ball’s manifesto. His manifesto is similar to Vorticism, and Eliot, in the way they attempt to make their words on the page, have real significance and context: “I don’t want words that other people have invented. All the words are other people’s inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own. If this pulsation is seven yards long.”

Tristan Tzara went on to write The Gas Heart as a dada play. The play was supposed to be a rebellion from the standard form and attempted to be something essentially new. Tzara had some similar thoughts on his play that Eliot had about The Waste Land. This is the same bullshit that Eliot did with The Waste Land later in his life referring to The Gas Heart by Tzara. The Wikipedia article about The Gas Heart says: “Tzara, whose own definition of the text described it as ‘a hoax,’ suggested that it would ‘satisfy only industrialized imbeciles who believe in men of genius,’ and argued that it offered ‘no technical innovation’.”

These similar elements manifest themselves in Dadaism, Vorticism, and Eliot. These elements are the real effects that the war had on culture. But, not just the war, in their rampage they also changed the perception of what art was perceived as well.


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