The Dada Reader: A Critical Anthology
(Edited by Dawn Ades; University of Chicago Press; 320 pages; $25 paper)
If you are fascinated by the texts in Dada, a good companion volume is The Dada Reader, edited by Dawn Ades. This collection concentrates on the wealth of small magazines—391, The Blindman, Cannibale, Bleu and Dada Jazz—that the Dada artists were so found of founding, folding and refounding, often on a whim. The anthology serves a vital need by translating a great deal of material not easily available, and a generous number of magazine pages are reproduced from the originals to show their typographical innovations (it is amazing, in this age of desktop publishing, to see how free the Dada artists could be with hand-set type). In the Dada spirit, there is no need to read straight through—dipping into the stream is permitted. A good starting point is the Twenty-Three Manifestos of the Dada Movement From Littérature: "Cover EVERYTHING in Dada bug powder!/ No nonsense hygiene!/ Dada God-swatter/ Dada omni-swatter/ Dada anti-taboo!"—Paul Dermee.
Review by Michael S. Gant
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