Provisional Avant-Gardes

9781503608719: Hardback
Release Date: 23rd July 2019

9781503609570: Paperback
Release Date: 23rd July 2019

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 272

Edition: 1st Edition

Series Post*45

Stanford University Press

Provisional Avant-Gardes

Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital

This book argues for a new understanding of twentieth and twenty-first century avant-gardes by analyzing literary and artistic communities and publishing practices of the small-circulation magazines in which avant-garde groups originally published and continue to publish their work.
Hardback / £77.00
Paperback / £24.99

What would it mean to be avant-garde today? Arguing against the notion that the avant-garde is dead or confined to historically "failed" movements, this book offers a more dynamic and inclusive theory of avant-gardes that accounts for how they work in our present. Innovative in approach, Provisional Avant-Gardes focuses on the medium of the little magazine—from early Dada experiments to feminist, queer, and digital publishing networks—to understand avant-gardes as provisional and heterogeneous communities. Paying particular attention to neglected women writers, artists, and editors alongside more canonical figures, it shows how the study of little magazines can change our views of literary and art history while shedding new light on individual careers. By focusing on the avant-garde's publishing history and group dynamics, Sophie Seita also demonstrates a new methodology for writing about avant-garde practice across time, one that is applicable to other artistic and non-artistic communities and that speaks to contemporary practitioners as much as scholars. In the process, she addresses fundamental questions about the intersections of aesthetic form and politics and about what we consider to be literature and art.

Sophie Seita is a writer, artist, translator, and a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and Assistant Professor at Boston University.

"Seita challenges the notion that there exists a formula for what can be called avant-garde. Instead, she presents the category as fluid, broad-minded, and sometimes contradictory. Provisional Avant-Gardes is important as a study of the impact of little magazines on art, literature, and politics, on their changing aesthetics, and on how print communities are created, then and now."––Deepa Bhasthi, Hyperallergic

"Sophie Seita's marvelously detailed examination of avant-garde and contemporary little magazines lays bare the infrastructures of innovative poetry. Her case studies are as exemplary as they are illuminating."

Charles Bernstein
author of Pitch of Poetry

"In this extraordinary book, Sophie Seita has mapped the postwar poetry avant-garde with all its complexities and contradictions. It's extraordinarily well laid out and true to the experiences of those of us who found a space there. As she recounts it, genres blend and schools contend as needed, and the result is a world of poets and artists arguing with the inherited past and drawing from a newly awakened past and present. I remain in awe at what she has accomplished: it's closer to the truth of our times than I would ever have expected."

Jerome Rothenberg
author of Eye of Witness

"Investigating modernist and contemporary American little magazine communities, Seita persuasively challenges conventional notions of the avant-garde as oppositional, militant, and closed. Her deeply informed readings of these periodicals and her astute theorizing complicate those narratives through a richly textured assessment of the form's importance to avant-garde poetics."

Linda A. Kinnahan
Duquesne University