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New from the thickets

Some people do not know their own best: They publish magazines.


[journal] The vast forest of Norwegian magazines is getting closer, but it would be wrong to talk about lush jungle for that reason. Therefore, we are going to present here three that are a little outside of the all-purpose fair.

Correct Copy is an academic publication that has not been visible until now, but which is becoming harder to ignore now: Nowadays, editors have collected most of what the 1900th century produced of artistic and political manifestos, and translated them (in extenso – everything else is as known worthless and useless), partly again, to Norwegian. Each manifesto is equipped with an afterword by a Norwegian author or intellectual. So this is really more of a book than a magazine, and it has become a very valuable book.

Nihilism and Anarchism

I just read that a poorly informed person thought the avant-garde had nothing to do with uniforming. Nothing could be more wrong: the avant-garde comes from the military "vanguard", and the most extreme artistic avant-garde was the first: the Italian futurists, who were militant, nationalist and proto-fascist. Point nine of FT Marinetti's "The Futuristic Manifesto" (1909) reads: "We want to praise war – the world's only hygiene – militarism, patriotism, the destructive actions of libertarians, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and misogyny."

"Manifest Dada" (1918) by Tristan Tzara goes much in the same direction, with his unbridled enthusiasm for destructive, nihilistic and anarchist activities. However, the Norwegian art historian Ina Blom writes in her afterword to the latter that «The manifesto's genre, as it was used by futurists among others, is based on a slanted rhetoric which – regardless of the authors' political intentions – ultimately shows the connection to bourgeois-scientific -rationalist logic and the social and political order based on the same logic ”(reviewer's translation of Ina Blom's English text).

And that's okay, but this tastes too much of ahistorical application of Jacques Derrida, and that trick Reinhart Koselleck already revealed in Criticism and Crisis (1959): You raise yourself to methane level under the vignette "I-am-ideology-critical- and can-reveal-your-agenda! ”.

Bokvennen has mainly been used to promote the publishing house Bokvennens utgivelser. This is still the case, but the magazine has material that is not linked to publishing operations as well. Regardless: In good Norwegian tradition, the list is low here: Everyone who manages to follow NRK's ​​literature coverage will be able to read Bokvennen.

The special Norwegian idea that high culture should be communicated at a level that coincides with the part of the audience that is not interested in high culture, is of course related to the Labor Party and NRK's ​​abandonment of forming / enlightening the people in the early 1970s. So here everyone can write, and everyone can read. Still, I found a stingy but very interesting article about the poet Christina Rossetti (the wife of the painter Dante G. Rossetti, and the niece of John William Polidori, the author of The Vampire from 1816).

retro Guardsmen

Aorta is a Swedish-Norwegian magazine that flags itself under the banner «retrogarde». It is primarily about literature and visual art, and is very ideologically oriented. Partly with great success, the retrogardists try to link premodernism and postmodernism, to expose modernism as just an interlude.

Their analyzes of a modernism that has long been manned (by going from being a dissident, to being in a position for a long time and the apologist for the mainstream) are good and thought-provoking. It's a little worse when the Aorta writers have to present their own poetics and their own texts: Writing sonnets and rhymes in verse, and then whining that the publishers will not publish it, does not seem very inspired to me, but this little almost invisible the union clique is so convincingly sour and full of hell, that it will be fun to see what they can come up with in the future.

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Kjetil Korslund
Historian of ideas and critic.

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