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Marinetti, Filippo Tommaso

Entry updated 7 May 2020. Tagged: Author.

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(1876-1944) Egyptian-born polemicist, editor and author, in France from early manhood and subsequently in Italy. As the author of "Fondazione e Manifesto del Futurismo" (5 February 1909 Gazzetta dell'Emilia; trans anon in Exhibition of Works by the Italian Futurist Painters, graph 1912, as "The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism"), he is credited with founding the Futurism movement; "Futurist Manifesto" argues for an epiphanic immolation in the Technology of the new age, citing Iconic instances of new Machines like racing automobiles, activated by the same principle that activates the machine-gun, both being equally desirable: for the principle they jointly embody, which is speed, is the clearest representation of the cleansing energy of progress. The Manifesto expectedly, therefore, anticipates any Future War with glee. The Supermen capable of glorying in the endless paroxysm of energy thus given bodily form will necessarily harry women (see Feminism), suppress the dead past, and exalt those fellow supermen who grasp political power. Futurism flourishes initially, and primarily, in Italy in the years before World War One, and was most vividly expressed through the visual arts; the English figure most conspicuously influenced by the movement was Wyndham Lewis, who nevertheless responded very negatively to Vital English Art (1914 chap) with C R W Nevinson, which continues the argument of the earlier manifesto. Marinetti himself became a convinced Fascist, and does not appear in Bruce Sterling's Pirate Utopia (2016), an Alternate History tale which spoofs the kind of world that Futurists might have envisioned.

Of sf interest is an sf novel written to illustrate his theses: Mafarka le futuriste: Roman Africain (1909; trans Steve Cox and Carol Diethe as Mafarka the Futurist: An African Novel 1998), which describes the feats of a North African dictator who creates, through his masculine rapport with advanced Technology, an Edifice [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] whose aeronautical principles forcefully adumbrate and in fact embody the future. The whole work comprises a grim prolepsis of the Pax Aeronautica if Marinetti's future idols had in fact managed to take over Europe for good. [JC]

Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

born Alexandria, Egypt: 22 December 1876

died Bellagio, Italy: 2 December 1944



about the author

  • Anonymous, editor. Futurismo 1909-1919: Exhibition of Italian Futurism (Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear: The University of Newcastle/Hatton Gallery, 1972) [nonfiction: graph: contains excerpts from Vital English Art plus other material: illus/various: pb/nonpictorial]


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