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The Integrity of the Avantgarde

Book Launch with Peter Zusi (University College London)

17.04.2024 16:15  – 17:45 

Peter Zusi is Associate Professor of Czech and Comparative Literature at the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London. He will present his book “The Integrity of the Avant-Garde: Karel Teige and the Biography of an Ambition” in conversation with Martin Schulze Wessel (LMU Munich).


17 April 2024, 16:00 to 18:00 (c.t.)


Veranstaltungsraum Philologicum, Ludwigstr. 25, 80539 Munich (entrance from Schellingstraße)

About the book:

On what grounds do we speak of ’the avant-garde’ in interwar European culture? Why do we understand the conflicts and quarrels among these diverse movements as expressing a shared attitude—the culture of the manifesto, the drive to reject, to explore, to renew—that trumps the conflicts and quarrels themselves? Why do the stern rationalism of a functionalist building and the irreverent irrationalism of a Dadaist performance seem heralds of a similar spirit?
The Czech avant-garde art theorist Karel Teige (1900–1951) regarded architecture and film as providing the key to formulating a unified theory that would capture this ‘integrity of the avant-garde’. Teige – whose thought has many points of contact with celebrated figures such as Georg Lukács and Walter Benjamin, and who was a close associate of Le Corbusier, André Breton, and Hannes Meyer – reveals how a vibrant ‘alternative’ avant-garde tradition can raise central questions for understanding European modernism.

Organized by the Department of East and Southeast European History and the Institute of Slavic Philology at LMU Munich in cooperation with the Munich branch office of the German Association for East European Studies, the Czech Centre Munich and the Adalbert-Stifter-Verein.