Terrorism and Modern Literature
From Joseph Conrad to Ciaran Carson
By (author) Alex Houen
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Terrorism and Modern Literature by Alex Houen
Book DescriptionIs terrorism's violence essentially symbolic? Does it impact on culture primarily through the media? What kinds of performative effect do the various discourses surrounding terrorism have? Such questions have not only become increasingly important in terrorism studies, they have also been concerns for many literary writers. This book is the first extensive study of modern literature's engagement with terrorism. Ranging from the 1880s to the 1980s, the terrorism examined is as diverse as the literary writings on it: chapters include discussions of Joseph Conrad's novels on Anarchism and Russian Nihilism; Wyndham Lewis's avant-garde responses to Syndicalism and the militant Suffragettes; Ezra Pound's poetic entanglement with Segregationist violence; Walter Abish's fictions about West German urban guerrillas; and Seamus Heaney's and Ciaran Carson's poems on the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland. In each instance, Alex Houen explores how the literary writer figures clashes or collusions between terrorist violence and discursive performativity. What is revealed is that writing on terrorism has frequently involved refiguring the force of literature itself. In terrorism studies the cultural impact of terrorism has often been accounted for with rigid, structural theories of its discursive roots. But what about the performative effects of violence on discourse? Addressing the issue of this mutual contagion, Terrorism and Modern Literature shows that the mediation and effects of terrorism have been historically variable. Referring to a variety of sources in addition to the literature-newspaper and journal articles, legislation, letters, manifestos-the book shows how terrorism and the literature on it have been embroiled in wider cultural fields. The result is not just a timely intervention in debates about terrorism's performativity. Drawing on literary/critical theory and philosophy, it is also a major contribution to debates about the historical and political dimensions of modernist and postmodernist literary practices.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780198187714
(215mm x 137mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 12-Sep-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Alex Houen
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By outlining a novel concept of literary practice, 'potentialism', this book shows how opening up literary possibilities enabled writers such as Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, William S. Burroughs, Kathy Acker, and Lyn Hejinian to tackle matters of power and politics.
Terrorism and Modern Literature, Hardback (September 2002)» View all books by Alex Houen
Ranging from the 1880s to the 1980s and examining occurrences of terrorism as diverse as the literary writings on it, this work offers a fresh perspective on terrorism's cultural effects, as well as on modern literature's historical and political dimensions, and is a study of modern literature's engagement with terrorism.
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