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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... uncertain mind of the American radical the most contradictory ideas and
methods are possible . The result is a sad chaos in the radical movement , a sort
of intellectual hash , which has neither taste nor character ” ( Red Emma Speaks
65 ) .
24 Howells is attempting to accommodate and domesticate the radical vision of
August Spies or Johann Most in his character Lindau , and he is therefore quick
to establish the radical ' s high - minded principles and the integrity of his ...
... and Conrad , even if their chosen aesthetic and political purposes were
radically opposed to each other . ... American Writers and Radical Politics , 1900
– 39 ( 1986 ) ; David Madden , Proletarian Writers of the Thirties ( 1979 ) ;
Richard Pells ...