Knowledge Through Things: A New Perspective on Crepuscular and Futurist Avant-Garde Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Cannamela, Danila
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • This dissertation provides a first systematic English-language study on Crepuscularism. Challenging the common critical understanding that reduces Crepuscularism to a pre-modern poetic regression while identifying Futurism with Marinetti's hymn to technological progress, I argue that these two Avant-Gardes share similar reactions to the modern bourgeois paradigm, both at a cognitive and ontological level. Overcoming the ghettoization of Crepuscularism as a provincial Italian phenomenon, the first chapter maps the historical and cultural setting of this movement, illustrating its intersection with philosophy, visual arts, and mysticism. In the subsequent chapter, I borrow from Bruno Latour's thesis that modernity encounters its limits in dealing with cross-category relationships such as nature-culture and human-thing. Crepuscularism expresses its Avant-Garde role by ushering in an anti-modern discourse on hybridization that Futurism inherits and further develops. The third chapter explores how the two currents envision cognition as immediate intuition and participative immersion that entails also ignorance, understood as maximum freedom of knowing. In chapter four, I enter the field of "thing theory", using categories introduced by Bill Brown and Remo Bodei, to analyze how the Crepuscular and Futurist "poetics of things" express a pan-animism of matter. Chapter five adopts key-concepts from Julia Kristeva's essay Powers of Horrors, to explore how Crepuscularism and Futurism open the boundaries of the ego to the realm of things, experimenting with new anthropotecnics, characterized by fluid constructions of body and gender. I dedicate the last section to the analysis of relational cognition, understood as a form of uncodified communication, such as Crepuscular silence and Futurist noise. 
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  • In Copyright
  • Cervigni, Dino S.
  • Chambless, Amy
  • Luisetti, Federico
  • Novelli, Mauro
  • Finucci, Valeria
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2014
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • This item is restricted from public view for 2 years after publication.

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