Futurism Vs Modernism

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According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, manifestos are “written statements that describe the policies, goals, and opinions of a person or group”. The Modernist writers from the early 20th century, no matter how divergent their opinions were, comprised such a group. Even today they are known for the various manifestos they composed about the world they desired to live in, steered away from what was before. To them, the question was not where they came from, as that seemed quite clear-cut at the time. What piqued their interest and sparked their creative drive was the time that had yet to dawn on them: the modern era. Through their manifestos, some Modernists like T.E. Hulme aspired to guide the masses of artists towards an era of…show more content…
Marinetti, author of the “Manifesto of Futurism” from 1909, in which he describes the course both modernist art and the world should take. This movement is called “futurism”, an artistic movement concerning “the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness” (337) and the “violent attack on unknown forces, to reduce and prostrate them before man” (337). Noteworthy is that although this was written before the start of the Great War, Futurism already glorifies war in the same way as the governments of the western world did. Like T.E. Hulme’s manifesto, the cause of Futurism is both an artistic and a political one. According to “Manifesto of Futurism”, the Futurists celebrate war, masculinity, pleasure, and the destruction of moralism. While Marinetti does refer to artistic expression by this, he also seems to perceive actual acts of war and violence as forms of art. This may be regarded as disturbing by a modern-day public. It does, however, clearly show an important aspect of the modernist culture: the desire to break away from the past, which was dominated by the emotionally charged art of Romanticism and the overly righteous moral standards of the Victorian age. To Marinetti, this feminine culture had to be put to an end. From a moral point of view, this may seem wrong, but like other modernists, Marinetti strives for the far…show more content…
In “T.E. Hulme and the Question of Modernism”, several writers, amongst whom are Todd Avery and Rebecca Beasley, attempt to tackle this question. After all, “modernism is unintelligible now because it had truck with a modernity not yet fully in place” (14). What this implies is that modernism cannot be fully grasped nowadays because even the modernists themselves did not and could not know what the future they desired to shape for themselves would be like. They toyed with modernity in a world that was not yet modern, causing their art to be created from a perspective no person will ever see again. “The Question of Modernism” later on also explains that the formation of modernism was not a conscious one; instead, “it most generally takes the form of a belief that the future holds possibilities of the perfect which have been denied to the present and the past” (214). In other words, those who conceived the modernist movement were those who had been disappointed by the course that the world had followed earlier on. From that, they inferred something needed to change. It was not because they were looking at the future with wonder in their eyes; it was because they were looking at the past with bitter
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