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Kathy AckerWriting the Impossible$
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Georgina Colby

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748683505

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748683505.001.0001

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Introduction: Kathy Acker and the Avant-Garde

Introduction: Kathy Acker and the Avant-Garde

(p.1) Introduction: Kathy Acker and the Avant-Garde
Kathy Acker

Georgina Colby

Edinburgh University Press

‘TO SHOW: DIVERGENCE FROM STANDARD FORM OF STRUCTURE; FORM HAS MEANING’1 Kathy Acker writes in bold capitals in an unpublished notebook. The alignment of form and content is the starting point of this book. It brings together two interrelated axes of Acker’s practice: her continuation of radical modernism’s preoccupation with the crisis of language, and the avant-garde concern for producing art orientated towards the transformation of society. For early twentieth-century modernist writers the imbrication of form with content was a hallmark of their literary practice. The commitment to experimentation in form and language, upheld by writers such as Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, H.D., and James Joyce, is integral to the challenge modernist writers sought to pose to nineteenth-century realism. It was a key characteristic of their larger concern with the medium of writing. The precise nature of that concern with the medium of writing is crucial. Theorists of the avant-garde have attempted to draw a distinction between modernism and the avant-garde on the issue of aesthetic autonomy. Peter Bürger’s now classic work ...

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