Preface [chapter]

2018 The European Avant-Gardes, 1905-1935  
I began thinking about this book a decade ago, when the fi eld of avant-garde studies took fl ight in Europe. That there has been such a fl ight warrants a few words of explanation, perhaps, because long before this point of course countless scholars, critics and curators, both in Europe and in the USA, had turned to the so-called 'historical' or 'classic' European avant-gardes to which this book is devoted. In this respect, indeed, the study of the avantgardes is at least as old as the classic
more » ... or historical avant-gardes themselves. Yet in Europe scholars have only recently named and claimed the academic fi eld of avant-garde studies, and this disciplinary self-assertion is of no insignifi cance. For one, it reminds us of the fact that it was only with the collapse of the wall dividing the former Eastern Bloc and Western Europe that the complete archive of the European avant-gardes, not in the least in that 'Other', Central Europe, opened itself up to experts from both the West and the East. Only at this point too could the truly comparative study of the European avant-gardes take off, aided by the newly found mobility of works, people and ideas. While much has changed in Europe since the fall of the Wall, everything suggests that such an ambitious comparative project is now underway. This is evidenced not only by the proliferation throughout Europe of research centres, projects and publications focusing on the avant-gardes, but also by the launch of international associations such as the Nordic Network of Avant-Garde Studies, which in 2008 expanded to become the trilingual (French, German and English) European Network for Avant-Garde and Modernism Studies. Avant-garde studies today stand out for their diversity and arabesque nature. To begin with, the fi eld unites art historians and literary scholars, fi lm, media, photography, dance, architecture, music and theatre researchers as well as philosophers, cultural historians and practising artists. This is not to say that avant-garde studies go unburdened by disciplinary boundaries, yet the fi eld is remarkably interdisciplinary. Furthermore, while its centre of
doi:10.1515/9780748695935-002 fatcat:4scnwxxc6bau5ae44fcoov3kbu