Allies and Enemies: Periodicals as Instruments of Conflict in the Florentine Avant-garde (1903-15)


In 1903 Giovanni Papini, a 22 year-old aspiring philosopher who would soon channel his rampant ambition into literary writing, was a founder of the philosophy magazine Leonardo (1903-7). A group of young intellectuals and artists, here defined as the Florentine avant-garde,  gathered around this periodical and its successors, La Voce (1908-1916) and Lacerba (1913-15). By drawing on Bourdieu’s sociological theory of cultural fields, this essay explores how the intellectuals writing for these periodicals established a powerful intellectual network and criticized the cultural institutions of the period: universities, the press, the literary and the artistic markets. By tracing individual biographies and intellectual trajectories, this essay also highlights the conflicts that arose within the Florentine avant-garde and between it and the Futurists led by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti.