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Hardcover | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780262101028 | 336 pp. | 8 x 9 in | 71 illus.| February 2004
Paperback | $44.00 Short | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780262600668 | 336 pp. | 8 x 9 in | 71 illus.| September 2005

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Irrational Modernism

A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada

About the Author

Amelia Jones is Grierson Chair in Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. Her books include Irrational Modernism: A Neurasthenic History of New York Dada (MIT Press), Self/Image: Technology, Representation and the Contemporary Subject, and Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts.


“In this book that is as bold as it is brilliant and beautifully written, Amelia Jones gives us not only a new modernism but a new feminism. It is nothing less than the first art history of the twenty-first century.”
Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Art History and Comparative Literature, Stony Brook University
“Amelia Jones's book is a brilliant study of New York Dada that irrationalizes in a productive and necessary way our understanding of modernism by retracing, reassessing, and demonstrating the incontournabilité of Baroness Elsa's work. This figure enables Jones to examine the failings of masculinity, the dysfunction of machine identity, and the neurasthenia of subjectivity in Dada art, and question as well the rationalities of both Dada and art history. A methodological shift is certainly at play in Irrational Modernism, one that contests art history's claim to disinterestedness and forces us to acknowledge the role played by identification.”
Christine Ross, Associate Professor, Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University
“Like the very best feminist scholarship, Amelia Jones's Irrational Modernism is not a work that adds women or gender to an existing history, but one that transforms the very terms of that history. By reconsidering the work of artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, and Man Ray in relation to both the trauma of World War I and the dehumanizing forces of Taylorism and Fordism, Jones recovers another of the many crises in masculinity that have passed largely unremarked in existing scholarship. By reinscribing marginalized figures such as the Baroness Elsa into the world of the Dadaists, and giving serious attention to neurasthenia as a social as well as psychic phenomenon, Jones has produced a lucid, compelling, and ex-centric study that provides an important interpretation of the art, the artists, the milieu, and the larger society in which Dada made its interventions. In contrast to heroicizing accounts of twentieth-century avant-gardes, Jones reminds us that even the most radical moments of cultural production have remained moored to masculinity's own contradictions, aporias, and misogyny.”
Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Professor, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of California, Santa Barbara