Dal Dada all’impostura

“Una conversazione singolare” di Walter Serner

  • Silvia Ulrich Università di Torino
Parole chiave: Walter Serner, Dadaism, New Objectivity, Confidence-man, Criminal Short Stories


After abandoning Dada, Walter Serner, a Bohemian Dadaist writer who had drafted the influential Zurich manifesto Letzte Lockerung, began writing short stories with a criminal setting. The break from Dada marks a caesura in Serner’s production; however, his short stories still move within the conceptual perimeter of the avant-garde, albeit with clear parodic intentions, aiming at ridiculing Dada itself and its adherents, in particular Tzara. This explains, for example, the modifications to the manifesto from the second draft, the adherence to the stylistic and formal canons of the New Objectivity, and the decision to entrust its ‘message’ to the human type of the ‘Confidence-man’, which already had illustrious antecedents in Germany at the time. In order to explain the paradox of the totality of Serner’s work that takes place within the confines of continuity and discontinuity, the present paper proposes an analysis of the short-story Eine eigenartige Konversation (1921), with the depiction of its writing phases, its philosophical-cultural influences, its elements of continuity with the manifesto and the main divergences from it.


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