Tristan Tzara, Seven Dada Manifestoes
Tristan Tzara describes a manifesto as, “a communication addressed to the whole world, in which there is no other pretension than the discovery of a means of curing instantly political, astronomical, artistic, parliamentary agronomic and literary syphilis. It can be gentle, good-natured, it is always right, it is strong, vigorous and logical” (Tzara 86). Tzara focuses on a variety of topics in his manifestoes. All of these revolve around a central idea, Dada. Many of his statements seem to answer the question, what is Dada? He focuses on in relation to art, poetry, logic and his views on life and society.
When looking at the definition Tzara found of a Manifesto one could argue that Tzara is against the idea of a Manifesto. That quote comes from the second part of Tzara’s fifth manifesto. In Tzara’s second manifesto he makes an almost contradicting reference regarding logic:
Logic is a complication. Logic is always wrong. It draws the threads of notions, words, in their formal exterior, toward illusory ends and centers. Its chains kill, it is an enormous centipede stifling independence. Married to logic, art would live in incest, swallowing, engulfing its own tail, still part of its own body, fornicating within itself, and passion would become a nightmare tarred with protestantism, a monument, a heap of ponderous gray entrails. (80) If a manifesto is always right, strong, vigorous and logical, then how can logic be complicated, and always wrong? In several points in his manifestos he seems to be contradicting himself. In fact in the second manifesto Tzara comes out and says plainly, “I am against Manifestos” (76) So why does Tzara write a manifesto if he is against manifestos? Perhaps this can be answered when he said, “ I do not explain because I hate common sense” (76) Therefore it seems that Tzara does indeed like to contradict himself.
Throughout the manifestos Tzara seems to focus a lot on what Dada is. I...
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