American Superrealism: Nathanael West and the Politics of by Jonathan Veitch

By Jonathan Veitch

Nathanael West has been hailed as “an apocalyptic writer,” “a author on the left,” and “a precursor to postmodernism.” yet before no critic has succeeded in absolutely attractive West’s particular approach to negation. In American Superrealism, Jonathan Veitch examines West’s letters, brief tales, screenplays and novels—some of that are mentioned the following for the 1st time—as good as West’s collaboration with William Carlos Williams in the course of their tenure because the editors of touch. finding West in a full of life, American avant-garde culture that stretches from Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol, Veitch explores the probabilities and barriers of dada and surrealism—the use of readymades, scatalogical humor, human machines, “exquisite corpses”—as modes of social feedback. American Superrealism deals what's without doubt the definitive examine of West, in addition to a provocative research that finds the difficulty of illustration because the imperative difficulty of Depression-era America.

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Circles and assholes: once conceived the author pursues this unlikely pairing with a philosophical and literary elan such as one might expect to find in the graffiti on the bathroom wall of a university library. This results in a book almost exclusively constructed out of scatological puns. Bad puns. Dirty jokes. Real stinkers. -lis Car Ringed Round with Brass Clamour the Seraphim Tongues of Our Lord Full Ringing Round As the Belly of SiXenus Giotto Painter of Perfect Circles Goes ... One Motion Round 30 PART I Round and Full Round and Full as A Brimming Goblet The Dew-Loaded Navel Of Mary Of Mary Our Mother Round and Ringing Full As the Mouth of a Brimming Goblet The Rust-Laden Holes In Our Lord's Feet Entertain the Jew-Driven Nails.

Chapter Two Euclid's Asshole The Dream Life of Balsa Snell PROLOGUE In an unpublished short story entitled "The Fake," Nathanael West recounts the adventures of Beano Walsh, a would-be American artist living the life of a bohemian in Paris during the twenties. Despite his extravagant claims for his art, Beano is really more of a con artist than anything else. He has managed to convince a well-heeled philanthropic organization to fund his dubious aesthetic ambitions largely on the basis of his manic energy and charisma.

24 Greenberg's critique of "academic" surrealism helps us to understand-even if Greenberg does not-its latent critical potential. For as we shall see, the very qualities that contributed to academic surrealism's American Superrealism 21 weakness as "art" made for its strength as a mode of social criticism. "25 There is no doubt some truth to this. But more is at stake here than a desire to epater Ie bourgeois. What Greenberg failed to realize-or more likely, chose to ignore-is a thoroughgoing critique of representation implicit in this "dependence" on the seemingly untroubled illusionism of nineteenth-century academicism.

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