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Modernism and Childhood: Violence and Renovation

Modernism and Childhood: Violence and Renovation margaret r . h igonnet Modernism and Childhood Violence and Renovation To each truly new cong fi uration of nature—and at bottom, technology is just such a cong fi uration—there correspond new “images.” Every childhood discovers these new images in order to incorporate them into the image stock of humanity. Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project (390) e Th innocent child is an emblem of the future and, therefore, of modernity. For Modernists, the child oe ff red an aesthetic metaphor, an artistic model, and an ideal audience. e Th Modernist concern for the child has attracted art historians, who have noted connections drawn between the child and primitivism, in which the cult of the “new” is paradoxically fused with the cult of the old (“the image stock of humanity”). u Th s children’s imaginative role-play is sometimes associated with the stylized African masks that inspired Picasso, Vlaminck, Kirchner and others; their fondness for dolls and puppets may also have fed the Dada construction of mario- nettes and stylized performances costumed as Hopi dolls.1 i Th s paper explores the duality of the Modernists’ symbolic child: not only an image of origins, nature, and archaic expressiveness, but also an image of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Modernism and Childhood: Violence and Renovation

The Comparatist , Volume 33 – Jun 12, 2009

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 the Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

margaret r . h igonnet Modernism and Childhood Violence and Renovation To each truly new cong fi uration of nature—and at bottom, technology is just such a cong fi uration—there correspond new “images.” Every childhood discovers these new images in order to incorporate them into the image stock of humanity. Walter Benjamin, Arcades Project (390) e Th innocent child is an emblem of the future and, therefore, of modernity. For Modernists, the child oe ff red an aesthetic metaphor, an artistic model, and an ideal audience. e Th Modernist concern for the child has attracted art historians, who have noted connections drawn between the child and primitivism, in which the cult of the “new” is paradoxically fused with the cult of the old (“the image stock of humanity”). u Th s children’s imaginative role-play is sometimes associated with the stylized African masks that inspired Picasso, Vlaminck, Kirchner and others; their fondness for dolls and puppets may also have fed the Dada construction of mario- nettes and stylized performances costumed as Hopi dolls.1 i Th s paper explores the duality of the Modernists’ symbolic child: not only an image of origins, nature, and archaic expressiveness, but also an image of

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jun 12, 2009

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