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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James presents Hyacinth ' s dilemma as an internal struggle in which each of the
parties is represented by these various lineages : “ His mother had been a
daughter of the wild French people . . . . [ I ] n her extreme childhood her father ,
Father was branded as a nihilist and an anarchist , and in one cartoon that was
copied widely he was portrayed waving a red flag at the head of a mob of long -
haired wild - eyed men who bore in their hands torches , knives and dynamite ...
... transferring to the bearer some sense of existing outside the conventions of
normal society . . . . The realm of the outlaw has become redefined " ( 140 ) .
Acker calls the “ wild spaces ” of the masochistic imagination “ conceptual , ” but
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Violence and Modernism
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