“Beautiful Ideas Worth Dying For and Scorn For Woman:” An Analysis of Gender in Male and Female Authored Futurist Texts
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The Italian Futurist Movement, founded in 1909 by F.T. Marinetti, represents a key moment in the history of the European avant-garde. The movement’s obsession with technology and the future necessitated an approach that demanded the complete destruction of the past. Their proclamation “scorn for woman” in the founding manifesto, as well as its brief association with Mussolini’s fascist party has coloured much of the historiography of the movement. The tendency to brand the Futurists as misogynists and fascist has led many historians to overlook the wider implications the Futurist movement’s founding principles had for early twentieth century European culture. One area of this historiography that has only recently garnered attention from historians and critics is the Futurist movement’s reciprocal relationship with women. In both inspiring female artists to become and write like Futurists, as well as applying their founding tenet of “destruction of the past” to bourgeois gender roles, the Futurist movement’s implications for gender were far-reaching and complex. This project will examine the arc of the Futurists’ critical approach to women over four primary texts, while comparing their conclusions to the writings of two female Futurists, Valentine de Saint-Point and Mina Loy. De Saint-Point and Loy’s texts were written as a direct response to Marinetti’s declaration in the founding manifesto of “scorn for woman.” Their mobilization of the Futurist framework in their own examination of gender and the female is representative of how widely applicable the founding principles of Futurism were. By examining the work of these three authors together it is possible to create a nuanced portrayal of how gender was conceived during a critical moment not only in the history of the European avant-garde, but also in the history of women.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeSmith, Lisa W.; Biggs, Lesley; Holmlund, Mona; Smith-Norris, Martha
Copyright DateApril 2012
Futurism, Gender, Technology, F.T. Marinetti, Valentine de Saint-Point, Mina Loy, Violence, Marriage, Motherhood, Male Mother