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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martyred idiot , Stevie , drawing relentless and furious circles , as the
quintessential figure for the modernist writer ( 96 – 97 ) . Conrad ' s is a frenzied
response to the banal encroachments of modern life whose reified
disfigurements show up ...
emblematic figure of the Professor , armed , literally to the teeth , a human
explosive who haunts the pubs and back alleys of London . It is to such bitter little
men that violent intent is assigned , as Jameson argues , in order to neutralize it
Indirect discourse is shut off , rendered mute and groping , by this “ frozen ” figure
: there is no writing on the wall of Winnie ' s features . Conrad tries his best to put
Winnie down : “ the visions of Mrs . Verloc lacked nobility and magnificence ...