The Aporias of the Avant-Garde  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Aporias of the Avant-Garde German: ("Die Aporien der Avantgarde") is an essay by Hans Magnus Enzensberger first published in 1962 and collected in Einzelheiten. It appeared in an English translation in The Consciousness Industry; On Literature, Politics and the Media, ed. Michael Roloff in 1974.

It argues that "the avant of the avant-garde contains its own contradiction: it can be marked out only a posteriori" and "warns against the pretensions of movements like Futurism that were so easily swept up into the political ideology of fascism, and the avant-garde's general tendency to slip toward variously doctrinaire forms of political sloganeering. As Enzensberger argues, an avant-garde that is unconscious of its aporias — its internal contradictions and obfuscations — is even more dangerous than the reactionary politics that inevitably surface to resist it. " [1]

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