Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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David Cunningham (University of Westminster)

The literary and art movement Dada was born in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire, a night-club founded and run by the German poet Hugo Ball and his partner Emmy Hemmings in a rather run-down bar in Zurich, Switzerland. The Cabaret was soon playing host to a small group of young artists escaping from the First World War, among the most important of which were Richard Huelsenbeck, Jean (Hans) Arp, Hans Richter, and the Romanians Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco. The origin of the name “Dada” remains a source of considerable dispute. The most widely accepted account has it that it was “discovered” by Ball and Huelsenbeck flicking at random through a dictionary and happening upon the French word for “hobby-horse”. Whatever its source, i…

985 words

Citation: Cunningham, David. "Dada". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 March 2001 [, accessed 29 January 2023.]

251 Dada 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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