|University Press Group Ltd|
the guardian Fri 10 April 2009
English literature professor Andrei Codrescu's guide to how to bring the spirit of dada into your life was inspired by an imagined 1916 game of chess in a Zurich café between ur-dadaist Tristan Tzara and VI Lenin. For Codrescu they embody two paths of human development in the 20th century: one the taboo-breaking, Dionysian pranksterism of dada, the other the soullessly efficient techno-rationalism of communism-cum-late-capitalism. The bad news is that Lenin's ruthless worldview (sans communism) has won and we are now all posthuman, a condition in which your "meat-body" - augmented by technology (iPhone, iPod) and drugs - becomes a denatured "e-body". The good news is that the inspired madness of dada (pure "counterswoosh") can set you free. Codrescu's wonderfully surreal and subversive guide tells the story of dada and puts you back in touch with your inner avant gardist. Behind the archly ironic playfulness is a serious-minded plea for creativity and a revitalised language. This book may damage your career, but it could just save your life.