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‘THE SOLE OBJECT OF ALL MY EFFORTS IS TO DO YOU GOOD’: Robert Owen, Simón Rodríguez and the Saint-Simonist Avant-Garde

Abstract

Two eccentric reformers, one British and one Venezuelan, meet at the crossroads between the aesthetics and politics of the avant-garde.

Briggs, Ronald. “‘THE SOLE OBJECT OF ALL MY EFFORTS IS TO DO YOU GOOD’: Robert Owen, Simón Rodríguez and the Saint-Simonist Avant-Garde.” Decimonónica 5.1 (2008). Web. www.decimononica.org.

Taking José Victorino Lastarria’s provocative comparison of Simón Rodríguez and Robert Owen as its point of departure, this article argues that the essayistic techniques of these two writers reveal a long obscured dimension of avant-gardism that calls into question the division between art and daily life. Beginning with the term’s Saint-Simonist roots, it suggests an alternative history of the avant-garde in which the demands of communicating with a larger public become an aesthetic imperative for the essayist.

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