International futurism is widely remembered as the first manifestation of the 20th-century literary avant-garde, although the relationship between the primary Italian and Russian “wings” of futurism, which shared a name but lacked a common ideology, is yet to be fully explored. Their aesthetic rivalry betrays strikingly different attitudes to the time-space of modernity, as well as to the modernist premise of literary autonomy. It also reveals the existence of rival national trajectories, as well as cosmopolitan orientations that assumed divergent relations to Paris as a centre. As such, the encounter between Russian and Italian futurism allows us to re-examine established theories of the avant-garde (Renato Poggioli, Peter Bürger) as well more recent theories of global literary space (Pascal Casanova). This article does some of the preparatory work for my current book-project, Poetry and Power. The Futurist Avant-garde in Russia and Italy.
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