By Sarah Cole
Literature has lengthy sought to make feel of the destruction and aggression wrought by way of human civilization. but no unmarried literary circulation used to be extra powerfully formed via violence than modernism. As Sarah Cole exhibits, modernism emerged as an creative reaction to the devastating occasions that outlined the interval, together with the chaos of anarchist bombings, international struggle I, the Irish rebellion, and the Spanish Civil battle. Combining historic aspect with inventive readings of fiction, poetry, journalism, photos, and different cultural fabrics, At the Violet Hour explores the unusual intimacy among modernist aesthetics and violence within the overdue 19th and early 20th centuries.
The First international struggle and T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land exhibit the hot theoretical paradigm that Cole deploys all through her learn, what she calls "enchanted" and "disenchanted" violence-the polarizing perceptions of violent dying as both the gas for regeneration or the logo of ugly loss. those ideas thread throughout the literary-historical moments that shape the center of her learn, starting with anarchism and the arrival of dynamite violence in past due Victorian England. As evinced in novels by way of Joseph Conrad, Henry James, and others, anarchism fostered a colourful, glossy realization of violence entrenched in sensationalism and melodrama. A next bankruptcy deals 4 interpretive categories-keening, generative violence, reprisal, and allegory-for studying violence in works via W. B. Yeats, J. M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, and others round the time of Ireland's Easter emerging. The e-book concludes with a dialogue of Virginia Woolf's oeuvre, putting the writer in basic kin to the encroaching tradition of violence: deeply exploring and formalizing its registers; and veering clear of her friends to build an unique set of styles to deal with its visceral ubiquity within the years top as much as the second one international War.
A wealthy interdisciplinary research that includes views from historical past, anthropology, the visible arts, and literature, At the Violet Hour provides a resonant framework for refiguring the connection among aesthetics and violence that might expand a ways past the interval ordinarily linked to literary modernism.
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Extra resources for At the violet hour : modernism and violence in England and Ireland
Each, in contact with force, is subjected to its inexorable action, which is to render those it touches either mute or deaf,” she writes, and further: “Such is the character of force. Its power to transform human beings into things is twofold and operates on two fronts; in equal but different ways, it petrifies the souls of those who undergo it and those who ply it” (Weil, 61). Weil’s account of how perpetrator and victim are swept up together into a single phenomenon is deeply problematic as an ethical idea.
In this study, we will find overlaps and congruencies between the violence of war and other historical events of the period, and these relations might stimulate a critique of some general assumptions about whether and how the war set the terms for both modernism and modernity. Irish works of these years, for instance, fit only uneasily into the scheme, given that the war functioned for many Irish people not only as a spectacle of unimaginable INTRODUCTION 27 violence but also as a wedge issue in the independence struggle.
Meanwhile, the idea of flight can be seen as an example of how war ultimately yields to peace, destruction to commerce, the precision of killing to the triumph of human virtuosity. Flight is linked to the imagination, that which, in dark times, might seem to offer an alternative to the morass of competition and war. Ultimately, the airplane is best read as an emblem of the full enmeshment of violence 26 AT THE VIOLET HOUR and aesthetics, where all its signifiers of beauty, adventure, and dazzling elevation came equally to express violence, fear, and loss.