Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence
However one looks at violence -- as an instrument of bureaucracy or ideology; as a product of racial, gender, or class antagonisms; or as the inevitable result of power politics -- it is an integral part of every social system and is one of the most pressing problems of our tortured century.
In Raids on Human Consciousness Arthur Redding examines the contention that violence, be it the mass product of revolutionary uprising or a private sadomasochistic indulgence, may be taken to instill in those who commit it the capacity for radical change.
Conscious that mainstream theory considers violence deviant, a departure from the normal equilibrium of social and aesthetic structures, while other critiques take it to be integral to any dynamic system, Redding begins with the anarchist inquiry into the relationship of violence to the imaginary representation of modern communities. He explores the "public images" of anarchism in literature and popular culture and emphasizes the diverse strategies by which modern writers encounter, derive, deflect, and manipulate fantasies of political violence.
Redding recognizes that language fails when confronted with the extreme suffering of human bodies. Acknowledging that flesh is subject to war, torture, and everyday brutality -- violations to which language can never do justice -- he nonetheless finds it urgent to reclaim language on the far side of suffering.
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His own tongue - in - cheek claim to the contrary , 16 James ' s technique clearly
enough partakes but little of the sure - handed social scientific method
championed by Zola ; 17 James interrogates his subject with bemusement and
irony rather ...
Though James ' s observations are accurate , they are fantastic . 19 James writes
to A . C . Benson , “ I have the imagination of disaster — and see life as ferocious
and sinister ” ( 67 ) . Life is rather ferocious and sinister , for an anarchist .
Thus , as James does , Hyacinth sees in the sinister world of the underground a
wealth of possibility , a path out of his present torment , which will not involve the
sort of foolish social climbing of his first mistress , Millicent . Millicent is a shrewd ...