The Quiet Avant‐Garde: Crepuscular Poetry and the Twilight of Modern Humanism

By Danila Cannamela

© 2019

The blending of people and living machines is a central element in the futurist "reconstruction of the universe." However, prior to the futurist break, a group of early-twentieth-century poets, later dubbed crepuscolari (crepusculars), had already begun an attack against the dominant cultural system, using their poetry as the locus in which useless little objects clashed with the traditional poetry of human greatness and stylistic perfection.

The Quiet Avant-Garde draws from a number of twenty-first-century theories – vital materialism, object-oriented ontology, and environmental humanities – as well as Bruno Latour’s criticism of modernity to illustrate how the crepuscular movement sabotaged the modern mindset and launched the counter-discourse of the Italian avant-garde by blurring the line dividing people from "things." This liminal poetics, at the crossroad of tradition, modernism, and the avant-garde, acted as the initiator of the ethical and environmental transition from a universe subjected to humans to human-thing co-agency. This book proposes a contemporary reading of Italian twentieth-century movements and offers a foothold for scholars outside Italian studies to access authors who are still unexplored in North American literature.

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Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP005476

  • PUBLISHED MAR 2019

    From: $63.75

    Regular Price: $85.00

    ISBN 9781487505066
  • PUBLISHED MAR 2019

    From: $63.75

    Regular Price: $85.00

Quick Overview

The Quiet Avant-Garde explores how crepuscularism and futurism, two early-twentieth-century Italian movements, have redefined the relation between the human and the nonhuman.

The Quiet Avant‐Garde: Crepuscular Poetry and the Twilight of Modern Humanism

By Danila Cannamela

© 2019

The blending of people and living machines is a central element in the futurist "reconstruction of the universe." However, prior to the futurist break, a group of early-twentieth-century poets, later dubbed crepuscolari (crepusculars), had already begun an attack against the dominant cultural system, using their poetry as the locus in which useless little objects clashed with the traditional poetry of human greatness and stylistic perfection.

The Quiet Avant-Garde draws from a number of twenty-first-century theories – vital materialism, object-oriented ontology, and environmental humanities – as well as Bruno Latour’s criticism of modernity to illustrate how the crepuscular movement sabotaged the modern mindset and launched the counter-discourse of the Italian avant-garde by blurring the line dividing people from "things." This liminal poetics, at the crossroad of tradition, modernism, and the avant-garde, acted as the initiator of the ethical and environmental transition from a universe subjected to humans to human-thing co-agency. This book proposes a contemporary reading of Italian twentieth-century movements and offers a foothold for scholars outside Italian studies to access authors who are still unexplored in North American literature.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Toronto Italian Studies
  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    "The Quiet Avant-Garde is an important contribution to the research on Italian modernism and avant-garde movements and an inspiring work of literary criticism that successfully engages with posthumanism and other current philosophical and literary theories."


    Matteo Gilebbi, Department of French and Italian, Dartmouth College

    "Engaging, important, and well researched, The Quiet Avant-Garde argues that Italy’s avant-garde blurs the boundary between human and non-human at the start of the twentieth century, drawing readers’ attention to the vibrant agency of a wide range of matter as represented in futurist and crepuscular writing."


    Monica Seger, Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, William & Mary
  • Author Information

    Danila Cannamela is an assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at the University of St. Thomas.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction - Poetry at the Twilight

    1. A Matter of Things: Modernity, Modernism, Avant-Garde
    2. The Avant-Garde is Made of Useless Objects
    3. Being a Living Thing: Toward a New Notion of Body
    4. Love and the Grand Solidarity of Sound
    5. The Avant-Garde Immersive Onto-Cognition