Astrid Seme – Baroness Elsa’s em dashes (Black Forest Library 1)

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The purpose of the em dash is wide-ranging —as an appropriation of silence, as acting dissonance, as interruption, as occupying space. This anthology zooms into the pointed use of em dashes in the poems of pioneering Dadaist artist, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874 – 1927).

Her poems; performances; costumes and life-style all made a point of challenging extremely bourgeois artistic and moral conventions with an unapologetically feminist, proto-punk aesthetic. The reader will find Elsa’s works in conversation with the likes of well-known dashers such as Gertrude Stein, Laurence Sterne, Heinrich von Kleist or the queen of dashing herself Emily Dickinson. Juxtaposed to Elsa’s expressive handwritten dashes the book connects her biography with the history and the stylistic usage of em dashes within the realms of bibliography, book history, literature, sociology and typography.

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