Groups, Coteries, Circles and Guilds. Modernist Aesthetics and the Utopian Lure of Community
While Modernism, especially literary Modernism, has long been investigated in the wake of the primary role played by individual voices and authorship, critical studies increasingly pay attention to the roles played by group artistry in the elaboration of avant-garde and modernist aesthetics and ethics, and to collaborative efforts bringing together writers, artists and intellectuals, creating at times not just cosmopolitan, but actively transnational communities.
Collective experiences (circles, little magazines, theatre companies, guilds) challenged the consolidated idea of authorship and creation and are crucial for understanding the writing practices in the first half of the twentieth century. They also very often operated internationally, by either forging allegiances between authors from different national and cultural backgrounds, or by creating connections between single authors across national boundaries.
In many ways, the utopia of new and unfettered forms of expression seems to go hand in hand with the experimentation of unconventional modes of living. Whether institutionalised or informal, most of these groupings, which were housed both in urban and rural surroundings, involved artists, authors and thinkers from different countries and cultures, working together in a collective attempt to reassess/reformulate the fundamental questions about art, creativity and craft in the light of communal practices and choices.
The editor is seeking for contributions addressing the following topics in Modernist literature:
- international and transnational circles, guilds and groups actively promoting utopian programs through artistic experiments and/or unconventional living practices
- collaborations uniting artists and writers and fostering dialogue between experiments in both the modernist centres and their “margins”
- collective writing practices challenging institutional perceptions concerning artistic production, authorship with broader political or social agendas
Please send proposals to: Laura Scuriatti, Bard College, Berlin: email@example.com