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By David Weir

A masterful examine of the hidden roots of latest tradition and may b learn by way of someone drawn to how and why our highbrow panorama has replaced fairly dramatically because the Victorian period.

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Extra info for Anarchy & culture: the aesthetic politics of modernism

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The contradiction at work here goes much deeper than the simple difference between "what" Tucker says and "how" he says it. '' Both of these developments are of considerable historical importance, but their importance as history does not imply the success of anarchism as politics. The ambiguous attitude toward origins that Tucker's rhetoric involves raises the question of whether the anarchists really had a consistent political model in mind for the type of society their rhetoric proposed. If they did not, or if the political model was at best secondary to the rhetoric used to articulate it, then the rhetoric really is original; that is, the language originates the politics.

8 My own study falls somewhere between the broadly theoretical approach of ideological criticism and the narrower concerns of cultural history. Such positioning seems appropriate to the paradoxical thesis I advance: that anarchist ideology and modernist culture have something in common that keeps them apart. Despite such common values as heterogeneity and autonomy, the anarchist realization of these values in social form is one thing, their modernist expression in aesthetic form another. Because of this important distinction, radical politics and radical art usually proceed along different lines in the modernist period, a certain shared sensibility notwithstanding.

Paul Claudel's technical innovations in poetry do not make him any less of a militarist. The royalist Léon Daudet edits the rightist journal L'Action française but praises the avant-garde Picasso as the Page 2 greatest painter alive. Breton also repeats the corollary "commonplace" that "leftist political circles appreciate in art only time-honored, or even outworn forms": one specialty of the progressive journal L'Humanité is the rendering of Mayakovsky's poems into doggerel (21415). This problem of overtly political art and lifeless technique has its greatest exemplar in the neoclassicist painter David: an active observer of the French Revolution who recorded some of its most powerful scenes, but did so in the stiff, academic style of Poussin.

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