Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Featured: Dada In Paris




Dada In Paris
Paperback

 Michel Sanouillet's Dada in Paris, published in France in 1965, reintroduced the Dada movement to a public that had largely ignored or forgotten it. Over forty years later, it remains both the unavoidable starting point and the essential reference for anyone interested in Dada or the early twentieth-century avant-garde. This first English-language edition of Sanouillet's definitive work (a translation of the expanded 2005 French edition) gives English-speaking readers their first direct access to the author's monumental history (based on years of research, including personal involvement with most of the Dadaists still living at the time) and massive compilation of previously unpublished correspondence, including more than 200 letters to and from such movement luminaries as Tristan Tzara, André Breton, and Francis Picabia.

In the years after Dada's relatively brief Paris flowering in the 1920s, its members were often depicted as opportunistic youths, hedonistic jokers engrossed in a monstrous solipsism. Sanouillet was the first to see them instead as the most gifted and sensitive representatives of a generation, intent on finding a new way of living, writing, and feeling. Dada in Paris offers a behind-the-scenes account of the French avant-garde's riotous adolescence, with a timeline that begins with Tzara and Picabia and stretches to include Breton, Philippe Soupault, Louis Aragon, and Paul Éluard. Sanouillet describes the pre-Dada Parisian milieu, the connection made with Zurich Dada, and Parisian Dada projects and their reception. Finally, by 1923, Dada-according-to-Tzara gave way to Dada-according-to-Breton—which a few months later, under tumultuous circumstances, took on the new name of Surrealism. The longer-lasting, more conservative Surrealism would overshadow Dada for decades to come.

"More than forty years after its original publication, Michel Sanouillet's Dada in Paris remains the definitive study of the movement, in all its many manifestations, from its Zurich roots to its post-Surrealist heirs. The revised French edition, with its up-to-date apparatus and marvelous collection of letters between Breton, Tzara, and Picabia--now translated into English for the first time-- is as delightful as it is necessary. Reading Sanouillet in 2009, one comes to understand, all over again, what Dada was and what it meant for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries."
Marjorie Perloff, author of The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rapture
"Sanouillet’s Dada in Paris is rigorous history while managing to be simultaneously voluptuous like a bath and thrilling like a tabloid. The enormous research and detailed scholarship of Dada's crucial Paris years unfolds here with a joie-de-vivre possible only by having an artist-in-residence, a feat that Sanouillet accomplishes with grace and verve. Short of having experienced 1921 in Paris at the side of Tristan Tzara, I can't think of better company than this dream-inducing thriller, document, and love fest. Like Dada itself, Sanouillet married incompatibles and created a text that resounds with the urgent concerns of the twenty-first century. Dada's timeless time beats are impossible to ignore now."
Andrei Codrescu, author of The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess





This book, and thousands of others, can be purchased from:

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