Dada:Art and Anti Art
Written by Hans Richter himself, this book provides an insider's look at
the Dada scene from its inception through its various mutations. It also
includes a chapter on what Richter calls "Neo-Dada" but is now known as
Pop Art. Lots of illustrations of Dadaists and Dada paintings, as well as
a lot of quotes from other Dada works.
Sample quotes: "This pointless and childish dispute is only worth mentioning because it does not make the historian's task any easier, and also because it reduces to a minimum the respect due to the so-called dates and facts that we give." (About the question of where the name Dada came from.)
"Dada not only had no programme, it was against all programmes. Dda's only programme was to have no programme...and, at that moment in history, it was just this that gave the movement its explosive power..."
The Dada Painters and Poets : An Anthology
A thorough collection of writings about Dada, mostly by the Dadaists themselves. Contains many manifestoes, speeches, poems and the occasional diary entry. Also an excellent selection of Dada paintings and sculptures, and pages from the various Dada journals (showing more random text manipulation than any on my page.)
Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries
This is Dada in its purest form.
You'll either love it or hate it, depending on whether you love or hate
Dada itself. Written (edited, really) by Tzara, one of the most important
Dadaists, this contains "explanations" of Dada that confuse and befuddle,
but are nonetheless somehow fun to read. Includes the famous "how to
compose a Dadaist poem." Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but
Amazon'll try to find a copy if you ask them to. The manifestoes are
reprinted in The
Dada Painters and Poets : An Anthology, but as far as I know the
lampisteries aren't available anywhere else.
Sample quotes: "DADA is a virgin microbe
DADA is against the high cost of living
limited company for the exploitation of ideas"
"Every act is a cerebral revolver shot--both the insignificant gesture and the decisive movement are attacks (I open the fan of knock-outs for the distillation of the air that separates us)--and with the words put down on paper I enter, solemnly, into myself."
Memoirs of a Dada drummer
A collection of essays by Richard Huelsenbeck. It has one long essay "The
Dada Drummer" with an overview and history of the movement, and a series
of short essays about some of the major participants. Includes a fair
amount of Dada poetry.
Sample quotes: "Tzara was a "natural dadaist," a sort of self-styled barbarian, who wanted to pue to fire and sword the things that we had designated asthe goals and objects of necessary annihilation--a whole collection of artistic and cultural values that had lost their substance and meaning."
"Above all, I wanted to change life, my life and that of other people, which is why I was indifferent to the way one paints, writes, or composes. My opinion on art was the opinion of those who abandon her like an unfaithful sweetheart."
This page is still under construction; I'll be adding more titles and reviews of the books. Meanwhile, you can go to Amazon's Dada category or just go to their home page.