“Arabesque Grotesque”: Toward a Theory of Dada Ecopoetics

Irene Gammel, John Wrighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While modernism and its avant-garde are often excluded from studies of environmental or ecological concerns, associated mostly with modern technologies, urban life and expanding media, this essay in contrast proposes that the arc that culminates in postmodern ecopoetics extends backwards to WWI-era Dada ecology. Using as a case study the body poetics of German-born New York Dada poet Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, this study advances a theory of Dada ecopoetics, exploring a number of crucial themes such as a radical dismantling of nature/city boundaries; a desublimated trash aesthetic; a multi-sensorial immersive perspective; an anti-pastoral aesthetic; and ultimately, a radical ecopoetic liminality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-816
Number of pages22
JournalIsle: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


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