EVENT May 18
Abstract days left 11
Viewed 185 times


Organization: Centro Studi “Arti della Modernità”
Categories: Comparative, Literary Theory, Miscellaneous
Event Date: 2022-05-18 to 2022-05-20 Abstract Due: 2021-12-15

Listen to this posting



1922/2022 – TOTAL MODERNISM:



Centro Studi “Arti della Modernità”

18-19-20 May 2022 – Torino (Italy)



The year 1922 signals neither the birth of modernism nor its comprehensive scope, but it can certainly point to a decisive divide marking ends and beginnings. Some key works of literary High Modernism were conceived, written, or completed in that year—T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duineser Elegien, Kafka’s The Castle, Proust’s Sodome et Gomorrhe, just to name the most obvious ones. On the theoretical side, Arnold Schönberg published his Theory of Harmony, Viktor Shklovsky expanded on his idea of defamiliarization (“art as device”) in the direction of a theory of prose, Clive Bell and Roger Fry elaborated on “significant form”. Just as importantly, the year 1922 saw the emergence of other crucial cultural productions that the canon of modernism has been slow—or reluctant—to incorporate, such as cinema, cabaret, dance, popular music.


A Dialogue between High and Low?

Recent scholarship has drawn attention to explicit connections between high-brow modernist masterpieces and a host of other “low-brow” cultural forms, as the new arts were deemed then, which demand their inclusion into the canon of modernism, just as Benjamin, Kracauer and others were soon to point out. The year 1922 seems to highlight a historical watershed where traditional binary oppositions of high and low, old and new, order and chaos appear to be disrupted by the formation of more complex hierarchies.

How did “high culture” uptake the popular arts and what was the meaning and outcome of such cross-fertilization? On the other hand, in what ways and to what results did the popular arts absorb modernist experimentation? Are those transformations, connections, and turns still of some interest to us today? What differentiates the high and the low? How do we define them? If we contrast the 2010s artistic productions and those ground-breaking experiments, do we find continuities or discontinuities and in what sense? Thinking back to 1922 from today, can we still talk of experimental art? Can a past revolution be inherited and in what way?


The Centro Studi Arti della Modernità (http://centroartidellamodernita.it/) is organizing an International Conference on 1922/2022 – Total Modernism: Continuity, Discontinuity, and the Experimental Turn to be held in Turin in May 2022. The conference will be held in person unless circumstances change. We will keep updating should problems arise for international travel. This conference seeks contributions addressing these decisive aspects of modernism in its golden year of 1922, a year in which, as Jean-Michel Rabaté has suggested, “one might be tempted to replace ‘high modernism’ with ‘total modernism’” or argue that the main problematic “object of high modernism is totality just before it turns into totalitarianism” (Rabaté 2015). It is this claim for high modernism as “total modernism”, and its reverberations today, that this conference is committed to examine, exploring the ways in which “one sees a metamorphosis of the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk into an artistic totality that combines all media (music, poetry, painting, staging, dancing, and film) and, moreover, superimposes the most experimental and the most popular” (Rabaté 2015).


Academic Advisors: Alexander Etkind (European University, Florence), Marie-Laure Ryan (Independent Scholar), Jens Brockmeier (American University, Paris), Andrei Bronnikov (Independent Scholar), Roxana Preda (University of Edinburgh), Ann Banfield (University of California, Berkeley).

Conveners: Franca Bruera (University of Turin), Giuliana Ferreccio (University of Turin), Roberto Gilodi (University of Turin), Luigi Marfè (University of Padova), Daniela Nelva (University of Turin), Massimiliano Tortora (University of Turin).

Keynote Speakers: Jean-Michel Rabaté (University of Pennsylvania), Ann Banfield (University of California, Berkeley, possibly on zoom), Peter Nicholls (New York University), Thomas Macho (Humboldt, IFK Wien), Guido Mazzoni (University of Siena), Raffaele Donnarumma (University of Pisa), Hubert Roland (Université Catholique de Louvain), Sigrid Weigel (Zentrum fu?r Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin).


The Conference Advisory Board will consider proposals for papers addressing, but not limited to, the following topics:

Form vs. Performance
Ends and Beginnings
The relation between words, things and ideas in literature and philosophy
Aesthetic autonomy / aesthetic totality
Citation, displacement, fragmentation
Plurilingual, Transnational modernism
Subjectivity and anti-subjectivism
Gesamtkunstwerk as the expression of an epoch
International Style: The Bauhaus, the Vhkutemas and others
Architecture: Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright
Classicism old and new
New music and the new visual arts
Photography and Cinema
Ballet, cabaret, popular music
Dada vs. Surrealism
Cosmopolitan diaspora
Conservative revolutions
East European Modernism
American vs. European Modernism
Expatriates in Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna
The city as total space

Proposals of about 250 words may be submitted to convenors through centrostudiartimodernita@gmail.com, by 15 December 2021, together with a bio-bibliographical profile. Proposals will be read and evaluated by 15 January 2022. The time of delivery for each paper should be no more than 20 minutes. Registration fee for Participants: 70 euros; Graduate Students and PhDs: 40 euros. The conference languages will be English, French and Italian.

A number of conference presentations will be selected for publication in Cosmo: Comparative Studies in Modernism (ISSN 2281-6658, http://www.ojs.unito.it/index.php/COSMO) the digital international, peer-reviewed journal of the Centro Studi Arti della Modernità. Accepted contributions will be published in Cosmo’s June 2023 issue.


Select Bibliography

Adorno, T.W. 1975 [1949]. “Philosophie der neuen Musik.” Gesammelte Schriften, ed. R. Tiedemann, vol. 12. Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp.

Ardis, A.L. 2002. Modernism and Cultural Conflict, 1880-1922. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Banfield, A. 2000. The Phantom Table: Woolf, Frye, Russell and the Epistemology of Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Benjamin, W. 2003 [1936]. “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility.” Selected Writings, IV, ed. by H. Eiland, M.W. Jennings. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP.

Bruera, F., Meazzi, B. (dir.). 2011. Plurilinguisme et Avant-gardes, Bruxelles: Peter Lang.

Bruera, F., Margaillan, C. (dir.). 2017. Le troisième sexe des avant-gardes. Paris: Classiques Garnier.

Bru, S., Ørum, T., Hjartarson, B., Berg, H., Nicholls, P., Nuijs, L. (eds.). 2011. Regarding the Popular: Modernism, the Avant-Garde, and High and Low Culture. Berlin: de Gruyter.

Bürger, P. 1984. Theory of the Avant Garde. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP.

Calinescu, M. 1987. Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodernism. Durham: Duke UP.

Collot, M. 2005. La poésie moderne et la structure d’horizon. Paris: PUF.

Compagnon, A. 1990. Les cinq paradoxes de la modernité. Paris: Seuil.

Erikson, G. 2007. The Absence of God in Modernist Literature. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Frisch, W. 2005. German Modernism: Music and the Arts. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Froula, C. 2007. Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Avant-Garde: War Civilization, Modernity. New York: Columbia UP.

Gambrell, A. 1997. Women Intellectuals, Modernism, and Difference: Transatlantic Culture, 1919-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Goldstein, Bill. 2017. The World Broke in Two. Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence. E, M. Forster and the Year That Changed Literature. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2017.

Hutchings, S.C. 1997. Russian Modernism: The Transfiguration of the Everyday. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Huyssen, A. 1986. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Bloomington. University of Indiana.

Janacek, G. 1984. The Look of Russian Literature: Avant-Garde Visual Experiments, Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.

Joyeux-Prunel, B. 2016. Les avant-gardes artistiques, 1848-1918 (t.1) et 1918-1945 (t.2). Une histoire transnationale. Paris: Gallimard, coll. « Folio Histoire ».

Kalaidjian, W. 2005. The Cambridge Companion to American Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Kelly, C., Lovell, S. (eds.). 2000. Russian Literature, Modernism and the Visual Arts. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Krauss, R. 1993. L’Originalité de l’avant-garde et autres mythes modernistes. Paris: Macula.

Levenson, M. 1984. A Genealogy of Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

—. (ed.). 2011. The Cambridge Companion to Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Lewis, P. (ed.). 2011. The Cambridge Companion to European Modernism. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Luperini, R. 2018. Dal modernismo a oggi. Storicizzare la contemporaneità. Roma: Carocci.

Manganaro, M. 2002. Culture, 1922: The Emergence of a Concept. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP.

Mansanti, C. 2009. La revue « transition » (1927-1938), le modernisme historique en devenir. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Monnier, G., Vovelle, J. (dir.). 1994. Un art sans frontières. L’internationalisation des arts en Europe (1900-1950). Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.

Nicholls, P. 1995. Modernisms: A Literary Guide. London: Macmillan.

North, M. 1999. Reading 1922: A Return to the Scene of the Modern. New York: Oxford UP.

Olson, L. 2009. Modernism and the Ordinary. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Perloff, M. 1996. Wittgenstein’s Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

—. 1999. The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern UP.

—. 2002. 21st Century Modernism: The “New” Poetics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Rabaté, J.-M. (ed.). 2013. A Handbook of Modernism Studies, Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

—. (dir.) 2015. 1922. Literature, Culture, Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Rado, L. (ed.). 1997. Modernism, Gender and Culture: A Cultural Studies Approach. New York: Garland.

Rainey, L. 1997. Institutions of Modernism. Literary Elites and Public Culture. New Haven-London: Yale UP.

Rancière, J. 2018. Les temps modernes, Art, temps, politique, Paris, La fabrique éditions, 2018.

Roberts, D. 2011. The Total Work of Art in European Modernism. Ithaca: Cornell UP.

Schwartz, S. 1985. The Matrix of Modernism: Pound Eliot and Early Twentieth Century Thought. Princeton. Princeton UP.

Tomiche, A. 2015. La Naissance des avant-gardes occidentales 1909-1922. Paris: Armand Colin, coll. « U ».

Tortora, M. (ed.) 2018. Il modernismo italiano. Roma: Carocci.

Walkowitz, R. 2007. Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation. New York: Columbia UP.



Centro Studi