Futurism and the Futurist Manifesto

Futurism refers to a movement in the fields of arts and social movement in the then Soviet Union. The root of formalism, as believed widely, lies in the doctrine of the futurists who were very revolutionary in their thoughts and actions. They did not believe in the existing literary traditions and many modernist ideas such as mysticism, realism, symbolism, were severely attacked by them. They also abhorred the bourgeois tradition of literature and offered chaotic and mechanistic materialism for literature. To them, the poets were proletariats who work as producers, farmers, technicians, etc. to carry out their activities. They believe that language does not offer a universal meaning pattern rather every word has self-contained sound pattern. It rejects the former form of expression and embraces the new technology offered by science. Speed and violence are favored over lyricism, symbolism and high culture. It promotes militaristic nationalism. The most important aspect of this genre is its belief in “words in freedom” which refers to the emergence of a language free from all syntactic limitations and distinctive variation in typography (composition). Among the best futurist writers, there are Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky etc.

Summary of the Futurist Manifesto

In 1909, F. T. Marinetti published the futurist manifesto. The main points in this manifesto are:

  • The futurists are determined that they don’t bother about the danger. They want to face all dangers with due energy and quickness to bring changes in the society.
  • The most required characteristics of the futurists’ poetry should include courage, audacity and revolt
  • Till now, as they commented, literature has accommodated thoughtful staticism, ecstasy, and inactivity which must be changed to give poetry a new shape in degree and meaning. They want to reach their goals through aggression, absolute dedication, extreme hard work, and physicality.
  • They glorify the emergence of machines and their contributions to the achievement of speed.
  • They glorify those who deal with machines and wheels.
  • They strongly believe that the poets must be extraordinary in  enhancing their passion for the primitivity.
  • They argue that beauty lies in absolute struggle.
  • They suggest that the poets must downsize the unknown agents so that the human beings can dominate over them.
  • To them, speed is able to defeat time and space. With the help of the speed, it is possible for the human beings to erase all the barriers created by time and space earlier.
  • They are revolutionary in their perception of achieving any goal. They view that it is quite impossible to gain anything without war. For this reason, they advocate for war for fighting against all types of anarchism.
  • They opine that the conventional institutes such as museum, library must be demolished to redefine them.
  • Finally, they believe that people must go forward through work. Moreover, they must find out their pleasure in what they do. In addition, they should not be afraid of revolting against the existing isms, institutions, and practices. Their argument very distinctively establishes that they are warriors who are not ready to comply with the existing structures. They want to rewrite the history of poetry as well as the society with their newly founded spirit guided by the emergence of the machines and their wide uses in different fields.


Many of the clauses of the futurist manifesto have inspired the formalists in different ways. The formalists are mainly encouraged by the conceptions of the language advocated by the futurists. The formalists have borrowed the futurist ideas in expanding their formalist ideas.


Abdur Rahim
Abdur Rahim

Assistant Professor, and Member of the Proctorial Body
Department of English Language and Literature (DELL), Premier University, Chattogram,
& Doctoral Fellow, English Department, Jahangirnagar University, Savar, Dhaka.

Phone: +8801715638298

Email: ar.dell.pu@gmail.com

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