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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The role of anarchic violence has a central defining place , marking out crucial ,
agonistic limits in the contested terrain of the modern imagination . Accordingly , I
will examine a series of works by Henry James , Frank Norris , Jack London ...
Violence is a defining act , for it initiates what might be called a fully somatic “
belief system , ” as Nietszche has suggested . ... The theater of violence enacted
by the rebel defines two camps , those who are with us and those who are
guage defines only one kind of silence , to be understood in Western terms . ...
the ways in which state - licensed dictates collapse the borders defining the
citizen and make a shambles of any posited self that might once have been