CHAPTER IV

FUTURISM

ITS BOHEMIAN ORIGIN.--THE BREAK WITH THE PAST.--THE COM-
PONENT ELEMENTS OF RUSSIAN FUTURISM.--MAYAKOVSKY AND
THE REVOLUTION.--FUTURISM, A LINK BETWEEN THE CREATIVE
INTELLIGENTSIA AND THE PEOPLE.

FUTURISM is a European phenomenon, and it is interesting because, in spite of the teachings of the Russian Formalist school, it did not shut itself in within the confines of art, but from the first, especially in Italy, it connected itself with political and social events.

Futurism reflected in art the historic development which began in the middle of the 'nineties, and which became merged in the World War. Capitalist society passed through two decades of unparalleled economic prosperity which destroyed the old concepts of wealth and power, and elaborated new standards, new criteria of the possible and of the impossible, and urged people towards new exploits.

At the same time, the social movement lived on officially in the automatism of yesterday. The armed peace, with its patches of diplomacy, the hollow parliamentary systems, the external and internal politics based on the system of safety valves and brakes, all this weighed heavily on poetry at a time when the air, charged with accumulated electricity, gave sign of impending great explosions. Futurism was the "foreboding" of all this in art.

A phenomenon was observed which has been repeated in history more than once, namely, that the backward

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