F. T. Marinetti
Mondadori, Milan, Italy, 1983; originally published in 1968, Italian
Nonfiction, General
On 1 book list
Warren Lehrer

I bought this facsimile of F.T. Marinetti’s manifestoes (including Words in Freedom), political writings, and novellas, in a bookshop in Verona, Italy. I had read (and taught) English translations of Marinetti’s writings, and seen reproductions of individual pages, but holding this 1,256-page volume in my hands, leafing through the continuum of its richly inventive pages, left me with a new appreciation. I can’t read Italian, but Marinetti’s contrapuntal settings and full-palette use of hand-drawn, typographic/alphanumeric marks, his “flux and reflux” of weight, size, directional, and rhythmic changes, made for a kind of visceral musical and poetic experience. For such radical work, there is much craft, delicacy, and care. Showing it to students always made me feel like Mary Poppins because of the awe and fascination it solicited. But then it walked, and I miss it. Of course, Marinetti had close ties to the Fascists, and a complex relationship with Mussolini, so maybe it’s okay that I have less opportunity to linger admiringly over his pages.

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