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Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada

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Overview

In Irrational Modernism, Amelia Jones gives us a history of New York Dada reinterpreted in relation to the life and works of Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Jones enlarges our conception of New York Dada beyond the male avant-garde heroics of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and Francis Picabia to include the rebellious body of the Baroness. If they practiced Dada, she lived it, with her unorthodox personal life, wild assemblage objects, radical poetry and prose, and the flamboyant self-displays by which she became her own work of art. Through this reinterpretation, Jones not only provides a revisionist history of an art movement but also suggests a new method of art history.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Jones (history of art, Univ. of Manchester; Postmodernism and the En-Gendering of Marcel Duchamp) sets out to challenge in this fascinating new adventure. Adventure might seem an odd word choice for a serious, painstakingly researched project about the eccentric figure of the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and the ways in which her gender, art, and life influenced and irritated New York Dada and its surrounding slew of writers, artists, and provocateurs in the early 20th century. Yet it is a fitting description for a caterwauling book that moves with an intellectual and emotional ferocity through topics as various as World War I, psychoanalysis, and feminism. The medical/metaphoric condition of neurasthenia acts on several levels-to describe the mental state of many artists at the time, including the baroness, as a way Modernism should be read (complicated and messy rather than rational), to describe the author's own condition (panic disorder) and thus personal investment, and to offer a new model for an immersive art history. This ambitious agenda is at times overstated, and art objects can be given short shrift in light of complex historical/theoretical revisionism, but Jones writes with a lucid and fervent voice (and culls an impressive range of others), making her argument exciting and compellingly fraught. Recommended for academic libraries.-Prudence Peiffer, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262101028
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Amelia Jones is Grierson Chair in Art History and Communication Studies at McGill
University. Her books include Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada (MIT Press), Self/Image: Technology,
Representation and the Contemporary Subject
, and Seeing
Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual
Arts.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 The Baroness and Neurasthenic Art History 2
2 War/Equivocal Masculinities 34
3 Dysfunctional Machines/ Dysfunctional Subjects 116
4 The City/Wandering, Neurasthenic Subjects 168
5 "Death in Reverse": A Provisional Conclusion 234
Notes 240
Index 314
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