Excerpts from F.T. Marinetti's Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature
11. Destroy the “I” in literature: that is, all psychology. The sort of man who has been damaged by libraries and museums, subjected to a logic and wisdom of fear, is absolutely of no interest anymore. We must abolish him in literature and replace him once and for all with matter, whose essence must be seized by strokes of intuition, something which physicists and chemists can never achieve.
Capture the breath, the sensibility, and the instincts of metals, stones, woods, and so on, through the medium of free objects and capricious motors. Substitute, for human psychology now exhausted, the lyrical obsession with matter.
Be careful not to assign human sentiments to matter, but instead to divine its different governing impulses, its forces of compression, dilation, cohesion, dis- integration, its heaps of molecules massed together or its electrons whirling like turbines. There is no point in creating a drama of matter that has been humanized. It is the solidity of a steel plate which interests us as something in itself, with its incomprehensible and inhuman cohesion of molecules or electrons which can resist penetration by a howitzer. The heat of a piece of iron or wood leaves us more impassioned than the smile or tears of a woman. [...]
Three elements which literature has hitherto overlooked must now become prominent in it:
1. Noise (a manifestation of the dynamism of objects);
2. Weight (the capacity for flight in objects);
3. Smell (the capacity of objects to disperse themselves).
Take pains, for example, to render the landscape of odours that a dog perceives.
Matter has always been contemplated by an I who is distanced, cold, too pre- occupied with himself, full of pretensions to wisdom and human obsessions.
Man tends to befoul matter with his youthful joy or ageing sorrow—matter, which possesses an admirable continuity of momentum toward greater heat, greater movement, greater subdivision of itself. Matter is neither sad nor happy. Its essence is boldness, will, and absolute force. It wholly belongs to the divining poet who will know how to free himself of syntax which is traditional, burdensome, restrictive, and confined to the ground, armless and wingless because it is merely intelligent. Only the asyntactical poet with words set free will be able to penetrate the essence of matter and destroy the mute hostility that separates it from us.
Together we will discover what I call the wireless imagination. One day we will achieve an art that is still more essential, the day when we dare to suppress all the first terms of our analogies in order to render nothing other than an uninterrupted sequence of second terms. To achieve this, it will be necessary to forgo being understood. It isn’t necessary to be understood. We have already dispensed with that privilege anyway even when we have written fragments of a Futurist sensibility by means of traditional and intellective syntax.
Syntax has been a kind of abstract cipher which poets have used in order to in- form the masses about the color, the musicality, the plasticity and architecture of the universe. It has been a sort of interpreter, a monotonous tour guide. We must suppress this intermediary so that literature can directly enter into the universe and become one body with it.
+ Excerpt from Marinetti's A Response to Objections
All these elastic intuitions, with which I am supplementing my “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature,” sprang to mind while I was creating my new Futurist work. Here is one of the more significant fragments from it:
TECHNICAL MANIFESTO OF FUTURIST LITERATURE
First published as an independent leaflet in May 1912; then published as the preface to The Futurist Poets (Milan: Edizioni di Poesia, 1912), the first collective anthology of poetry which Marinetti edited. Originally assembled as a display of free verse, the contents were now out of step with the preface. Despite this anomaly, the volume sold more than 20,000 copies. Ac- counts of the manifesto figured in contemporary newspapers: L’Intransigeant (Paris), 7 July 1912; Dernière Heure (Paris), 18 July; Paris-Journal, 18 July; Le Temps (Paris) 24 July. A Ger- man translation was published in Der Sturm, no. 133 (October 1912).