Revolution of the Word – Modernist Manifesto

Found in Transition 16-17 (a double issue that appeared in June 1929 in Paris) this modernist manifesto/ proclamation…some of the signers like Harry Crosby, Eugene Jolas (Transition's editor) Kay Boyle, Hart Crane are well known and some like Leigh Hoffman and Douglas Rigby are almost unknown.

Tired of the spectacle of short stories, novels, poems and plays still under the hegemony of the banal word, monotonous syntax, static psychology, descriptive naturalism, and desirous of crystallizing a viewpoint….
We hereby declare that:

1. The revolution in the English Language is an accomplished fact.

2. The imagination in search of a fabulous world is autonomous and unconfined.
(Prudence is a rich, ugly old maid courted by Incapacity…. Blake)

3. Pure poetry is a lyrical absolute that seeks an a priori reality within ourselves alone.
(Bring out number, weight and measure in a year of dearth…. Blake)

4. Narrative is not mere anecdote, but the projection of a metamorphosis of reality.
(Enough! Or Too Much! … Blake)

5. The expression of these concepts can be achieved only through the rhythmic “Hallucination of the Word”. (Rimbaud).

6. The literary creator has the right to disintegrate the primal matter of words imposed on him by text-books and dictionaries.
(The road of excess leads to the palace of Wisdom… Blake)

7. He has the right to use words of his own fashioning and to disregard existing grammatical and syntactical laws.
(The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction … Blake)

8. The “litany of words” is admitted as an independent unit.

9. We are not concerned with the propagation of sociological ideas, except to emancipate the creative elements from the present ideology.

10. Time is a tyranny to be abolished.

11. The writer expresses. He does not communicate.

12. The plain reader be damned.
(Damn braces! Bless relaxes! … Blake)

Signed: Kay Boyle, Whit Burnett, Hart Crane, Caress Crosby, Harry Crosby, Martha Foley, Stuart Gilbert, A. L. Gillespie, Leigh Hoffman, Eugene Jolas, Elliot Paul, Douglas Rigby, Theo Rutra, Robert Sage, Harold J. Salemson, Laurence Vail.

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