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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From the start The Iron Heel interrogates the trustworthiness of representational
narrative . Avis Cunningham , the book ' s narrator , and her father , John , a
professor at Berkeley , live a rather sheltered life of liberal good intentions and ...
The novel is a calumny of the liberal intelligentsia of the 1840s , on the one hand
, and a fantasized condemnation of the radical generation of nihilist fanatics
which the degeneracy of their fathers has licensed and spawned , on the other .
At this point Howe beats a hasty retreat ; not surprisingly , he flees to the refuge of
an ironized “ liberalism , ” here ... Howe chronicles the series of satires of liberals
in the novels , but he points out that Stepan ' s is an “ honorable ” end , his ...