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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What was most in Hyacinth ' s mind was the idea , of which every pulsation of the
general life of his time was a syllable , that the flood of democracy was rising over
the world ; that it would sweep all the traditions of the past before it ; that ...
16 Yet for all her weaknesses the portrayal of Vida herself remains sympathetic ,
to my mind at least . It is not clear that we are supposed to abandon Vida in favor
of her sister ' s position . If her sister ' s feminism is arguably more attractive from ...
The thought flashed through my mind that I was getting off on all this . I was a
masochist . So : Was I making the situation worse ? ” ( Blood and Guts 20 ) . Note
the insistent repetition of I . It is less a problem of producing a “ Kathy ” identifiably