R. Bruce Elder: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (2008)

18 November 2013, dusan

“R. Bruce Elder argues that the authors of many of the manifestoes that announced in such lively ways the appearance of yet another artistic movement shared a common aspiration: they proposed to reformulate the visual, literary, and performing arts so that they might take on attributes of the cinema. The cinema, Elder argues, became, in the early decades of the twentieth century, a pivotal artistic force around which a remarkable variety and number of aesthetic forms took shape.

To demonstrate this, Elder begins with a wide-ranging discussion that opens up some broad topics concerning modernity’s cognitive (and perceptual) regime, with a view to establishing that a crisis within that regime engendered some peculiar, and highly questionable, epistemological beliefs and enthusiasms. Through this discussion, Elder advances the startling claim that a crisis of cognition precipitated by modernity engendered, by way of response, a peculiar sort of “pneumatic (spiritual) epistemology.” Elder then shows that early ideas of the cinema were strongly influenced by this pneumatic epistemology and uses this conception of the cinema to explain its pivotal role in shaping two key moments in early-twentieth-century art: the quest to bring forth a pure, “objectless” (non-representational) art and Russian Suprematism, Constructivism, and Productivism.”

Publisher Wilfrid Laurier University Press, Waterloo, 2008
ISBN 1554580285, 9781554580286
480 pages

Review: David Sterritt (Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 2011).


PDF (updated on 2019-12-14)

7 Responses to “R. Bruce Elder: Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (2008)”

  1. Matej on October 15, 2016 2:01 pm

    Any chance for “Dada, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect” by the same author, please? It is on MUSE ( https://muse.jhu.edu/book/26865 ) , but one needs a special book-subscription to access it.


  2. dusan on October 15, 2016 3:49 pm

    Matej: here

  3. Matej on October 16, 2016 6:24 pm

    Oh shame on me and my queries.
    Thank you.

  4. Marina Graça on December 14, 2019 5:28 pm

    The link to download the file seems to be broken.
    Would it be possible to fix it?
    Thank you.

  5. dusan on December 14, 2019 5:34 pm


  6. Marina Graça on December 14, 2019 8:25 pm

    Thank you, Dusan, but it still doesn’t work.
    There seems to be a problem with the url.

  7. Marina on December 14, 2019 8:45 pm

    Thank you, Dusan!
    It worked.

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