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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2 Yet the selfsame - call it aesthetic — production also defends itself as a
depoliticized path out from the tribulations of the sterile political landscape of the
consumer . The “ political , ” as Fredric Jameson has famously argued , becomes
a kind ...
Fredric Jameson , The Political Unconscious THE MODERNIST AESTHETIC
While few of the books I have chosen favor any techniques that will later come to
be identified with a modernist aesthetic ( and even James ' s novel The Princess
21 By Erika Doss , in “ Protest Aesthetics , ” at a 1993 conference titled Toward a
History of the 1960s . ... Ron Karenga ' s nationalism and the black aesthetic
movement hovering around it always harbored a vexed affinity for the