Non-Fiction Books:

Contextual Practice

Assemblage and the Erotic in Postwar Poetry and Art



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Contextual Practice by Stephen Fredman
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"Some of the most innovative works of poetry and art in the postwar period (1945-1970) engaged in a 'contextual practice' - both a way of making art and a new relationship between art and life. A response to the devastating experiences of the Depression and World War II, contextual practice involved drawing together visual and verbal fragments from daily life in order to reveal secret meanings and to insist on the regenerative potential of the everyday. Poets and artists particularly based their work on the body and its erotic energies, creating an art of daily life that reveled in sexual display and drug experimentation, espoused an anarchist politics and communal sociality, and encouraged mystical and shamanistic excursions. Contextual practice informed all branches of the New American poetry; the work of the Beats; happenings, events, and dance theater; the underground film movement; and, currents of assemblage, collage, junk art, and pop art. Fredman illuminates the theoretical and practical stakes involved and takes us back to the first stirrings of a countercultural ethos that was to have a profound effect on society at large. "

Author Biography

Stephen Fredman is Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. His Poet's Prose: The Crisis in American Verse (1983, 1990), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
Release date Australia
March 11th, 2010
Country of Publication
United States
Stanford University Press
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