A Reference Companion to the History of Abnormal Psychology - Vol. 1

By John G. Howells; M. Livia Osborn | Go to book overview

D

DADAISM. An artistic movement resulting from the shock of World War I, and deriving its name from the French term, dada, meaning hobbyhorse. It was nihilistic, destructive, and meaningless. It wished to scandalize people and promote anarchy in artistic thought. Its chief exponents were Tristan Tzara ( 1896-1963), Hans Arp ( 1887-1966), Marcel Duchamp ( 1887-1968), André Breton (q.v.), Guillaume Apollinaire ( 1880-1918), and Max Ernst ( 1891-1976). The Dadaists were mostly young artists with pacifist views who expressed, often with calculated absurdities, their contempt for the ineffectual establishment that had failed to prevent the war and the mass slaughter of men. The movement began in Zürich, Switzerland, around 1916, spread to most of the large European cities, and burned itself out by 1922. In the United States there was a similar, but independent, movement that had begun in 1913. It merged with the European Dadaism in 1918.

Bibliography: Moverwell R., ed. 1951. The Dada painters and poets: an anthology.

DADD, RICHARD (1817-1886). An English painter, born at Chatham. From adolescence he showed artistic promise, talent, and imagination. When he was twenty-five years old, he accompanied Sir Thomas Phillips ( 1792- 1872) on a tour of the Middle East. His abnormal behavior, then attributed to prolonged exposure to the sun, dates from this tour. Dadd killed his father while under the influence of the so-called fiends that he imagined persecuted him. He escaped to France, but there he was arrested while attempting to kill a man and was committed to an asylum at Clermont. He was returned to England and detained in the Criminal Lunatic Department of the Bethlem Royal Hospital (q.v.), where he was diagnosed as schizophrenic (see SCHIZOPHRENIA). He remained there for twenty years. A search of his lodgings after his admission to Bethlem revealed many sketches of his friends. Each sketch illustrated a friend with his throat cut. Also found there were enormous quantities of eggs and ale, the two substances on which he

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