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Lecturer to tie travel and transportation to avant-garde art and literature

"The Cyclist," by Natalia Goncharova

Eric Robertson, professor of Modern French Literary and Visual Cultures and head of French at Royal Holloway, University of London, will come to campus April 20 to discuss how, at the start of the twentieth century, Europe's developments in science, technology and engineering- and the resulting improved modes of travel and transport - liberated individuals and impacted not only society but art and literature as well. His talk, entitled "What the Tram Told Me: Travel and Transportation in European Avant-Garde Art and Literature," is sponsored by the departments of French and Italian Studies.

Through a discussion of works by Apollinaire, Boccioni, Carrà, Cendrars, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Duchamp, Léger, Man Ray and Marinetti, the lecture will consider some of the conflicting ways in which planes, trains and automobiles - not to mention bicycles - fired the literary and artistic imagination of the European avant-gardes. Robertson's areas of research include 20th century French literature and the visual arts, with particular emphasis on European Modernism and the avant-gardes.

He has authored or co-authored numerous articles, chapters and books, including "Arp: Painter, Poet, Sculptor," for which he received the R. H. Gapper Book Prize, awarded by the Society for French Studies for the best book by a scholar working in Britain or Ireland in French studies. He will speak Wednesday, April 20, at 4:30 p.m. in Room 210 of Blaustein Humanities Center.

April 17, 2011