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Artist Books

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes
(The Futurist Words in Freedom)

Library Information and Colophon

Title

Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes (The Futurist Words in Freedom) View record in Reed Digital Collections

Publication

Milano, Edizioni Futuriste di "Poesia," 1919

Library Call #

PQ4829 .A76 M6 1919 View Reed library catalog record

Description

[5] leaves illus. (in portfolio) 31 x 38 cm

Notes/Colophon

Edizioni Futuriste
Di “Poesia”
Corso Venezia, 61-Milano
1919

Biography

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

(1876-1944)
Italian

Emilio Angelo Carlo Marinetti was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1876. Marinetti obtained a degree in law from the Universitià degli Studi di Genova in 1899 but immediately afterward decided to become a poet and writer, signing all of his work “Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.” After settling in Milan, Marinetti published the infamous, Manifeste de fondation du Futurisme (Futurist Manifesto), in 19091 thus founding the artistic movement futurism.

Marinetti is most well known for this manifesto, though he published many others over his lifetime, because it was completely antithetical to earlier art movements. “This manifesto proclaimed a new kind of poetry, exalting the love of danger, aggression, speed and war (‘the war’s only hygiene’) and the excitement of great crowds, revolutions, industry and technology. Marinetti urged the destruction of museums, libraries and academies.”2 His dream was that his new technological age should be completely ruptured from the backwards past.

Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes (The Futurist Words in Freedom) by Marinetti in Reed’s Special Collections is an example of Marinetti’s urge to recreate and free every medium from the past. The book uses “verso libero” (free verse) a concept created and promoted by Marinetti in his international magazine Poesia (Poetry).3 Verso libero was based on Marinetti’s 1913 manifesto Destruction of Syntax, Imagination without Strings, Words-in-Freedom which sought to break the monotony of correct syntax in order to allow “absolute freedom of images or analogies, expressed with unhampered words and with no connecting strings of syntax and with no punctuation.”4 In this manifesto Marinetti also wrote that he aimed to revolutionize “the so-called typographical harmony of the page,”5 by using varying typefaces, fonts, fonts sizes and colors to “redouble the expressive force of words;”6 all of which are used in Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes.

“Futurist books led to the future (hence the name of the movement), functioning as emblems of technical and cultural progress, and using all possible media of serial production in the mechanic age.”7 Thus the mass production of artists' books fits directly into the futurist philosophy and allowed Marinetti an effective method in which to spread his ideas. Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes, a prime example of this technique, summarizes about 15 years of research into the regeneration of the written word.8 The book includes three typographic compositions on posters that require tearing out pages and essentially destroying the book in order to be viewed. Reed’s Special Collections holds two copies of the book, one deconstructed and the other intact.

Marinetti produced many artists' books over his lifetime, the most famous being La Cucina Futurista or The Futurist Cookbook. In this book Marinetti called for the elimination of pasta from the Italian diet claiming that it caused “lethargy, pessimism, nostalgia, and neutralism.”9 In place of the traditional Italian staple he designed strange and novel dishes such as flan of calf’s head on a bed of pineapple, nuts, and dates stuffed with anchovies. Though not all of the dishes may have appeared appetizing, they were innovative at the least for “being anti-pasta meant being antipassatista, i.e., against the past,” in typical futurist fashion.10

Footnotes

1 Carlo Belloli. “Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.” MoMA.org: The Museum of Modern Art. Oxford University Press, 2007. View website

2 Ibid.

3 Maurizio Scudiero. “The Italian Futurist Book.” Colophon Page: Modern Illustrated & Fine Press Books. Web. 22 April 1997. View website

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 Maurizio Scudiero. “F.T. Marinetti, Les Mots en Liberté Futuristes (The Futurist Words-in-Freedom), 1919.” Colophon Page: Modern Illustrated & Fine Press Books. Web. 22 April 1997. View website

9 Romy Golan. “Ingestion/Anti-Pasta.” Cabinet Magazine. Issue 10, Spring 2003. 24 October 2008. View website

10 Ibid.

Other books in special collections by this author

Title

The Futurist Cookbook

Publication

San Francisco: Bedford Arts, 1989.

Library Call #

TX723 .M32913 1989 View Reed library catalog record

Description

176p.: ill.; 25cm

Notes

Translation of: La Cucina Futurista

In 1932 the Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti proposed a revolution in food. He dined his way from Milan to Paris to Budapest, staging eye-catching demonstrations with his talks.

The Definitive Futurist Dinners

Heroic Winter Dinner
Summer Luncheon for Painters and Sculptors
Springtime Meal of The Word In Liberty
Autumn Musical Dinner
Nocturnal Love Feast
Extremist Banquet
Dynamic Dinner
Tactile Dinner Party
Declaration of Love Dinner

References and Links

Belloli, Carlo. “Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.” MoMA.org: The Museum of Modern Art. Oxford University Press, 2007. View website

Blum, Cinzia Sartini. The Other Modernism: F.T. Marinetti’s Futurist Fiction of Power. L.A., Calif.: University of California Press, 1996. View Reed library catalog record

Hewitt, Andrew. Fascist Modernism: Aesthetics, Politics, and The Avant-Garde. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993. View Reed library catalog record

Golan, Romy. “Ingestion/ Anti-Pasta.” Cabinet Magazine Online. Issue 10, Spring 2003. View website

Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Selected Poems and Related Prose. Comp. Luce Marinetti. Trans. Elizabeth R. Napier and Barbara R. Studhomle. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 2002. View Reed library catalog record

Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso. Marinetti: Selected Writings. Ed. R.W. Flint. Trans. R.W. Flint and Arthur A. Coppotelli. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1972. View Reed library catalog record

Scudiero, Maurizio. “The Italian Futurist Book.” Colophon Journal: Modern Illustrated and Fine Press Books. Web. 9 June 2008. View website