Futurism: a New Critical Approach
Futurism as a movement in art and literature owes its inspiration to the recognition of the dynamism, energy and speed as symbolized in the machine which is evidently helping man to harness the natural forces and changing the face of the earth and conquering the universe itself. The movement was started by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti who demanded a change in literature corresponding to the change in the external life wrought by machine. In the New Futurist Manifesto (Sep., 1913) he pleaded for ‘a complete renewal of human sensibility’, for ‘Wireless imagination and words of liberty’ in conformity with the ‘Scientific inventions that have accelerated the pace of communication’. With the loss of faith in soul’s immortality which has necessitated a fuller appreciations of our human possibilities; with the rejection of romantic love which has opened the way for the full expression of sexual desires and gratification of erotic carvings, now facilitated by the freedom of women, man is now free to march forward to the tune of the machine music. Man must develop a new mechanical sense, fusion of instinct with horse-power and with changed forces. For the adequate expression of this sensibility a new language will be required, language free from the fetters of old syntax and rules of punctuation and all the connecting wires. Language will become fluid and even words must be free from the fixities of form and usage.
This sound and fury was bound to have some impact upon art and literature, but it was not able to shake the age-old conviction, happily still strong, that literature cannot fulfill its useful functions by trying to rival the noise and speed of the machine, because it has ever been a refuge, where man’s mind and heart may have liberty to listen to that ‘still small voice’ which rises from the depth of silence, the center of calm in the very heart of storm, external as well as internal.