The aesthetics of resistance : modernism and antifascism / Jennifer Barker.

Barker, Jennifer.
x, 385 leaves : ill.
Modernism (Aesthetics) -- Political aspects.
Literature, Modern -- Themes, motives.
Fascism and culture.
Fascist aesthetics.
This dissertation examines the political engagement and expression of transatlantic modernist writers and filmmakers during the interwar period. Exploring work by both canonical and marginalized authors and filmmakers---including Kay Boyle, Virginia Woolf, H.D., Rebecca West, John Heartfield, Charlie Chaplin, Kenneth MacPherson, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, and Leni Riefenstahl---it demonstrates the emergence of a frayed modernism. Strained and worn, yet contentious and exciting, this work confronted fascism, often directly and even awkwardly, without abandoning the destabilizing techniques of modernism and the avant-garde. My chapters situate this artistic production---what Walter Benjamin referred to as "a mighty recasting of literary forms"---within the cultural landscape of fascist and antifascist organizations such as the Bureau of Beauty of Labor and Mass Observation. Contrasting fascist aestheticization, mythologizing and paranoia about contagion with the antifascist strategies of impurity, ambiguity, satire, sincerity and documentation, this dissertation asserts that it was possible to resist the controlling totalities of political and aesthetic forms by embracing the complex and messy nature of reality. Drawing on fascist and cultural studies, psychohistorical and critical theory, theories of montage and the image, and scholarly debates about modernism and realism, my dissertation argues that the political commitment and resistance of the 1930s resulted in a poetic realism or documentary modernism that fostered intense change and revaluation of modernist beliefs about the meaning, importance and responsibility of art.
Photocopy. Ann Arbor, Mich. : UMI Dissertation Services, 2008. x, 385 p. ; 22 cm. UMI no.: 3178431.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Indiana University.
Photocopy. Ann Arbor, Mich. UMI Dissertation Services, 2008. 385 p. ; 2 2 cm.
Local notes:
Acquired for the Penn Libraries with assistance from the Class of 1891 Department of Arts Fund.
Class of 1891 Department of Arts Fund.
Contained In:
Dissertation Abstracts International 66-06A.
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