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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As Blanchot argues , the “ catastrophe ” marks the always circumstantial and
elusive border between virtuality and event , and this space is , as Blanchot
argues elsewhere ( 1955 ) , the very space of literature . This space coexists with
Hyacinth has an acute awareness of suffering and wretchedness , although
sensitivity is for James a quintessentially genteel virtue ; it is what marks Hyacinth
as distinct from his environment and marks him as one of the elect for whom a
High modernist irony marks a pointed retreat into the formal , a self - conscious
retreat from the base politics of philistines . A Jamesian style marking the specific
juncture that demands the shelter of irony cannot be sustained throughout the ...