Cubism was the most influential artistic movement that emerged in the twentieth century. The hallmarks of its style were stamped on the art, design and architecture and its aesthetic principles governed the representation of modernity across all the arts. Yet just what cubism was, or stood for, at the time of its emergence is still in dispute, while the explanations offered for its importance for twentieth-century art, and its legacy for the present, are bewildering in their variety. This fascinating book offers a way beyond this confusion: a narrative of its beginnings, consolidation and dissemination that takes into account not only what the style and the movement signified at the time of its emergence but also the principal writings through which cubism's significance for modernism has been established. Visually stunning with over 100 illustrations, this is an essential work for all students and teachers of modern art history.