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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Such are the usual tactics of misogyny , conscious or not : I have been betrayed
by the corruption of women . Yet , as I have tried to demonstrate , it is
representation itself that has betrayed the revolution , betrayed it with the violent
The book is an almost exemplary specimen of unconscious misogyny , and its
anxious nailbiting over the inevitable “ failure to perform ” veils the usual vicious
indictment of women . Throughout it women fulfill the classic scapegoat ...
to which he makes such grandiose claim in a work such as An American Dream (
1965 ) is no more than the sordid aftermath of misogyny , alcohol , and the
progressive ' s deep envy of power . Mailer ' s writing is not at all violent at its core
; it ...