Quiet Rebellion: Emmy Hennings and the Politics of Subversion

  • Charles Terry Marcrum II College of Arts & Science


Amidst the clamor and upheaval of World War I, Zurich proved to be fertile ground for a blossoming literary and artistic movement dedicated to the eradication of the social, political, and creative norms which allowed the war to come about, through a campaign of abstraction and reduction into Nichtigkeit (Nothingness). This was Dada. The means by which this campaign was made operational were varied, as were the many artists and writers who placed themselves on the front lines. One such artist, Emmy Hennings, has, in recent years, become the subject of increased examination and debate, due to her problematic and twice-marginalized position as both a woman and a liberated avant-garde within a still-repressive Wilhelmine society. Under intense scrutiny is the question of whether Hennings served as a leader of the Zurich Dada movement, or as a passive follower, operating under her husband’s able direction; whether she used the Dada movement as a platform on which to voice her contrary opinions or simply as an outlet for politically and socially indifferent self-expression, as some modern scholars contend.

Author Biography

Charles Terry Marcrum II, College of Arts & Science
Charles Marcrum II is a fourth-year student majoring in German Language and Literature in the College of Arts & Science. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, he is the recipient of the Dept. of Germanic and Slavic Languages' Edwards Memorial Scholarship, as well as a member of the Delta Phi Alpha German Honorary Society. He is also a National Merit Scholar, and is frequently featured on the Dean's List. During the summer of 2006, he studied at the Universität Regensburg. After completing the final year of his undergraduate career in Nashville, he intends to pursue graduate study in German Literature at Harvard University.
How to Cite
MARCRUM II, Charles Terry. Quiet Rebellion: Emmy Hennings and the Politics of Subversion. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, [S.l.], v. 4, june 2008. ISSN 1555-788X. Available at: <http://ejournals.library.vanderbilt.edu/index.php/vurj/article/view/2775>. Date accessed: 01 june 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.15695/vurj.v4i0.2775.
Humanities and Social Sciences


Dada; Expressionism; Gender Relations