The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess by Andrei Codrescu

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A Q&A with author Andrei Codrescu
Andrei Codrescu
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“This is a guide for instructing posthumans in living a Dada life. It is not advisable, nor was it ever, to lead a Dada life.”–The Posthuman Dada Guide
 
The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world–all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich’s Café de la Terrasse–a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution–lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world. Taking the match as metaphor for two poles of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Andrei Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada–and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future. Here dadaists Duchamp, Ball, and von Freytag-Loringhoven and communists Trotsky, Radek, and Zinoviev appear live in company with later incarnations, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gilles Deleuze, and Newt Gingrich. The Posthuman Dada Guide is arranged alphabetically for quick reference and (some) nostalgia for order, with entries such as “eros (women),” “internet(s),” and “war.” Throughout, it is written in the belief “that posthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada and its inhuman sources.”
 
Andrei Codrescu is an award-winning writer and National Public Radio commentator. His latest books are Jealous Witness: New Poems and New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writing from the City (Algonquin). The author of many essay collections, including The Disappearance of the Outside, he is the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University.
Reviews:
“One of our most prodigiously talented and magical writers.”–New York Times Book Review
“Can’t decide whether to cry or laugh? Laugh at absurdity, laugh at hardship, laugh at poverty, says Andrei Codrescu in his maddening, enlightening, self-contradictory, highly amusing new book. . . . [Codrescu] has rolled into one slim guide a postmodern self-help manual, a history lesson, a love letter to dissident poets, a hard jab at communism and a veiled autobiography. . . . The guide is, beneath it all, a mournful celebration of the achievements of pre-communist Romanian Jews, such as Tzara and modernist painter and architect (and Dadaist) Marcel Janco.”–Carly Berwick, Los Angeles Times
“Any reader looking for a quirky, polemical, provocative introduction to Dada might like to try Andrei Codrescu’s Posthuman Dada Guide, in which the author’s key terms are alphabetically listed and ‘hermeneutically filleted’. His linguistic glee also means that this dictionary can easily be read cover to cover.”–Peter Read, Times Literary Supplement
“This Zagat-sized handbook, a Dadaist chop suey showcasing the astonishing intellectual range of English professor and NPR commentator Codrescu, is arranged alphabetically and topically, which permits one to dip in or to read it all. The occasionally outrageous encyclopedic juxtapositions of entries give a firsthand experience similar to the effect of Dada cutups and collages.”–Publishers Weekly
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For customers in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia
Paper with French folds: $17.95 ISBN: 9780691137780
For customers in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India
Paper with French folds: £12.50 ISBN: 9780691137780
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File created: 6/29/2011