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Futurism and Nature: The Death of the Great Pan?

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This chapter is concerned with the relationship between Futurism and Nature and the representation of the latter in the works of F.T. Marinetti. Initially, Futurism's glorification of technology and the modern city entailed a complete rupture of the relationship between humankind and organic Nature, a relationship that had been central in nineteenth century philosophy and literature. Futurism abandoned the myth of Pan, which symbolized the cult of Nature and was based on a concept of cyclical time, and adopted the one of Prometheus (the civilizing power) and of Ulysses (the heroic force) – which operated with a linear conception of history and emphasized the idea of progress. Marinetti replaced the bucolic landscape of mountains, rivers, fields and sea with an ultra-modern cityscape of steel and concrete. But did this really mean that there was no place for organic Nature in the Futurist world view? This chapter suggests that Marinetti's conception endorsed the idea of Nature as an enemy that needed to be tamed and controlled by humankind.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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