Filippo Tommaso Marinetti

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Filippo Tommaso Emilio Marinetti (December 22, 1876 – December 2, 1944) was an Italian poet and editor, the founder of the Futurist movement and a fascist ideologue.


Childhood and adolescence

Emilio Angelo Carlo Marinetti (some documents give his name as "Filippo Achille Emilio") spent the first years of his life in Alexandria, Egypt, where his father (Enrico M.) and his mother (Amalia Grolli) lived together more uxorio (as if married).

His love for literature emerged during his school years. At seventeen he started his first school magazine, Papyrus; the Jesuits threatened to expel him for bringing Emile Zola's scandalous novels to school.

He studied in Egypt and Paris, where he obtained the baccalaureat in 1893. He took a degree in law at Pavia University, graduating in 1899.

He decided never to be a lawyer but to follow his literary vocation. He experimented incessantly in every field of literature (poetry, narrative, theatre, words in liberty), signing everything "Filippo Tommaso Marinetti".


Marinetti is widely known as the author of the Futurist Manifesto, which he wrote in 1908. It was published on the front page of the most prestigious French daily, Le Figaro, on February 20, 1909.

In The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, Marinetti declared that "Art [...] can be nothing but violence, cruelty, and injustice." Since that text proclaims the unity of life and art, Marinetti understood violence not only as a means of producing an aesthetic effect, but also as being inherent to life itself. George Sorel, whose influence spanned the entire political spectrum from anarchism to Fascism, also argued for the importance of violence. Futurism had both anarchist and Fascist elements; Marinetti later became an active supporter of Benito Mussolini.

A great lover of speed, Marinetti had a minor car accident outside Milan in 1908 when he veered into a ditch to avoid two cyclists. He referred to the accident in the Futurist Manifesto: the Marinetti who was helped out of the ditch was a new man, determined to shake loose the pretense and decadence of the prevailing Liberty style. He outlined a new and strongly revolutionary programme to his friends, in which they should close off every bridge to the past, "destroy the museums, the libraries, every type of academy", and sing of "the great crowds, shaken by work, by pleasure or by rioting". Together, he wrote, "We will glorify war - the world's only hygiene - militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman." [1]

The Futurist Manifesto was read and debated all across Europe, but Marinetti's first 'Futurist' works were not as successful. In April, the opening night of Le Roi Bombance (The Feasting King), written in 1905 was interrupted by loud, derisive whistling on the part of the audience... and by Marinetti himself, who thus introduced another essential element of Futurism, "the desire to be heckled." Marinetti did, however, fight a duel with a critic he considered too harsh.

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