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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11 Zola ' s Souvarine holds fast to " intrigue ” and scoffs at Marx ' s pretense that
the worker will rise “ in the clear light of day ” ( 99 ) . If the open act of violence is
the methodology of revelation which clarifies the true terms of the struggle , then ...
The closing words of Germinal offer this promise of emancipation : On every side
seeds were swelling , stretching out , cracking the plain , filled by the need of heat
and light . An overflow of sap was mixed with whispering voices , the sound of ...
Seen in this tragic light , even the conservative modernism of a Yeats might best
be understood as an increasingly tough - minded - - - - - - - - lament , formally re -
creating the naive possibilities of 128 Raids on Human Consciousness.
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Satire Georges Sorel
Violence and Modernism
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