‘Beyond Futurism’ Symposim – Columbia University 2009

Beyond Futurism: F.T. Marinetti, Writer

For the Centennial Anniversary of the Italian Avant-garde

Columbia University – Department of Italian and Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America

November 12-13, 2009

Futurism, thanks to its irreverence and its lack of interest in puristic distinctions, including its capacity to find redeeming value in banality, will survive the process of “touristicization” and fetishization that characterizes a good part of the current approach to this avant-garde movement. But the victim of this process has paradoxically been its founder, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who has been even too successful in confusing metonymically the movement as a whole and his own oeuvre. The time has come to begin to redress such a confusion, concentrating on the still imperfectly known writings of Marinetti – one of the most remarkable post-symbolist poets and narrators in twentieth-century Italian, and European, literature.

The centennial anniversary of the foundation of the Italian avant-garde movement, which was famously inaugurated by Marinetti in the French paper Le Figaro in 1909, is an auspicious occasion for a renaissance of futurist studies, contemplating the figure of Marinetti as a writer. This two-day symposium will bring together a variety of international critical perspectives. Our admittedly ambitious aim is to begin a general process of redefinition and rediscovery of the Italian Novecento on an international scale, going beyond defeatist clichés.

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