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He is author of Terrorism and Modern Literature, as well as various articles and book chapters on literature and political violence.


Sacrifice and modern war literature : from the battle of Waterloo to the War on Terror 4 editions published in in English and held by WorldCat member libraries worldwide This book explores how writers from the early nineteenth century to the present have addressed the intimacy of sacrifice and war. Each chapter presents fresh insights into the literature of a particular conflict. The range of literature examined complements the rich array of topics related to wartime sacrifice that the contributors discuss. Pre-emptive attacks on terrorist groups in 'rogue' states; 'outsourcing' of state militancy; and the mutable state of armed conflict required to wage a 'hybrid war' have increasingly been issues for the 'War on Terrorism' WoT.

Taken together, they also provide just one example of how any detailed exploration of the states involved needs to address not only matters of nation-state sovereignty, but also the modes states of militancy that the War on Terror has assumed in spreading internationally. Moreover, such measures have seen the spread of the War on Terror to countries such as Israel, Russia, Ethiopia, and Uganda, all of whom have justified their own attacks in other nation-states as a war of 'self defence' against terrorism.

And as the War on Terror has spread with the willingness of other countries to adopt it, those countries have in turn adapted emergency modes of war-- including targeted assassinations, indefinite detention, rendition, and torture. This work relates legal and political aspects of the War on Terror and also incorporates a 'war and society approach' in order to examine how society has effected changes in war, and how war and militarization have assumed various states in society. Doing so allows for consideration of how different 'states' have become interconnected in the War on Terror-- including states of warfare and national governance, and those of social affect.

Part I offers a series of framing chapters that take a broad view of particular issues; After the framing chapters of Part One, the chapters in Part II examine how modes states of the War on Terror have spread as a result of being taken up in various nation-states. In relating various states of war and wars against states, this volume will be a significant and novel contribution to critical study of the War on Terror.

While most other studies of it have limited their purview to a principal cast of nation-states USA, UK, Iraq, Afghanistan , this volume focuses on ways in which the War on Terror has proliferated beyond those states. And whereas most other studies have limited their analysis of the modes of war to a particular perspective e.

This book will be of much interest to students of critical terrorism studies, " Chris Hables Gray makes similar claims about contemporary war in general. Is terrorism primarily a matter of discursive and figurative practices? Just as media commentators struggled for words, politicians—understandably—also turned to hyperbole in order to convey the enormity of the situation. For in some senses, the tenor of hyperbole does reflect the overreaching impact of the terrorism.

That is not to say that the historical is usurped by an abstract figure, or that the terrorism amounted only to discourse and rhetoric. As the etymology of hyperbole shows, it oversteps itself as a term. Denoting both discursive and material excesses, it cannot contain itself. Again, though, to say that this amounts to the whole affair being essentially discursive is to lose sight of the fact that the force of such political rhetoric is already inextricably linked to, and facilitated by, legal, political, military, economic, and financial networks of power—not to mention the physical impact of terrorist attacks themselves.

Once we realize that the terrifying effects of terrorism are produced and exacerbated by such interactions, then we are faced with further questions. If so, does the history of terrorism show that violence and the figurative have interacted differently according to historical context? These are the sorts of questions that I shall be pursuing throughout this study, and I shall be addressing them by examining the ways in which several literary writers have been interested in similar questions.

From Robert Louis Stephenson and Joseph Conrad to Seamus Heaney and Ciaran Carson, it is not surprising that writers such as these have been compelled and concerned by terrorism considering that there has always been so much discussion of its symbolic nature and its mediation. Before turning to the issue of the literary responses in more detail, though, we first need to address questions about the definitions and discourses of terrorism more generally.

Terrorism and Modern Literature - Alex Houen - Häftad () | Bokus

Definitions and Discourses of Terrorism There is still no internationally accepted definition of terrorism. This ambiguity surrounding terrorism has meant that, to a great extent, combating it has entailed trying to clarify the general, definitional haze. Individual governments have been swift to ratify 19 The academic literature on defining terrorism is vast. Faced with this quandary, international law generally, and the UN in particular, has been forced to approach terrorism indirectly by agreeing to outlaw specific types of action, including hostage-taking, hijacking, and attacks on diplomats.

Terror(ism) in Literature: ‘The Man Who Was Thursday’: A Review

The distinction between the two was thus rendered ambiguous, with both the US and UK governments producing new antiterrorism legislation at the same time as waging war in Afghanistan. The definitions of terrorism put forward in the legislation of individual nation-states also involve ambiguity. In part, the definitions are deliberately general so as to allow for maximum flexibility in applying the law. The explosion of interest has not resulted in greater consensus, though. As I have argued, though, such a view becomes problematic if the focus on the fictional and the figurative obscures the physical effects of terrorist violence.

David E. Events become metaphors, as part of a narrative process and metonyms for a theory. But what about the violence itself? What of its own impact on the production of legislation or force of discourse? What of its influence in precipitating or terminating political negotiations? Is it always textualized in advance, or can it manifest its own volatile performativity? The physical, non-linguistic aspects of terrrorism are thus recognized as having a distinct role. The material impact of terrorism is thus theoretically absorbed by them and becomes overdetermined. But how useful is this concept of ritualization if the terrifying nature of terrorism is partly attributable to its capacity to disrupt the security of everydayness?

What of the sudden attack that terrifies through anonymity and the lack of any warning signs? Producing a narrative or theory that outlines an aetiology of terrorism and accounts for its effects is obviously a form of counterterror in itself. Indeed, much of terrorology is concerned primarily with compiling statistics, psychological reports, and other data in order to advise and report on effective anti-terrorist policies.

For commentators such as Russell F. And the media have been captured, have proven totally defenseless, absolutely vulnerable. Clearly, the hijacking of the TWA flight does demonstrate that terrorism and media coverage have been compounded all too effectively, but it also shows that public opinion and government policy can play a part in the dynamic, too, making the symbiosis all the more unstable. To delimit terrorism within a generalized relation to the media is thus to fail to account for the various factors that can contribute to its effects and mediation.

The media has itself been affected by government policy, and not only through measures such as broadcast bans. That terrorists themselves have adopted a variety of stances towards the media is another reason why the notion of a binary symbiosis is problematic. That so much terrorism has been about contesting history is another reason for taking a historical approach. That the bombing was largely about contesting history is borne out by various social critics.

We have that sinking feeling that a civil war has already begun. In another sense, the militancy was an attempt to make such an analogy real and to galvanize the incendiary rhetoric and utopian separatism that had already taken root. In an interview with James Coates, Pierce revealed that he had in turn been inspired by another novel, The John Franklin Letters, in which an America controlled by a global Communist regime is rescued by right-wing, rural revolutionaries.

Blowing a hole in the very fabric of everydayness, they become an event that seems to exceed both the past and present. Such terrorism is not just a rupture in history, then, but a rupture of history, in which the anachronistic and the utopian are made inexplicably incarnate. What is contentious is his historical status. The result is a traumatic space of socialization. Is this public sphere so homogeneously pervasive, though?

What about forms of pathology that develop through withdrawal from social spaces? He is not, from the available evidence, a sexually driven psychopath. To date, though, the few significant responses have been limited to analysing terrorism as a form of social theatre. Such outrages would be nothing without their dramatic impact.

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They are the unlikely fusion of two contradictory things: spectacle and secrecy. But can it be said that terrorists are in control of its management and staging? And is there only one script? That the production of terrorism involves both actions and complicated power relations is subsequently acknowledged by Orr: Terrorism. The terrorist, consequently, does not exist before the media image, and only exists subsequently as a media image in culture.

Not unaware of the problem, Kubiak goes on to discuss the issue of forgetting that terrorism involves a violence that is all too real: For us, the terror of mediated terrorism does not exist, because it has been obliterated by the repetitions of its own abstracted image.

Cannot the contiguity of event and reportage facilitate an unstable contagiousness or immediation of terror? Yet is not as if such questions have been without importance for literary writers. Indeed, in attempting to trace the complex dynamics of terrorism, there is much to be learned from the examinations of it from within literature itself. At no stage shall I be offering a generalized definition or aetiology of terrorism, though.

In part, then, my approach will be to look at the way terrorism has been caught up in wider cultural fields that are not reducible to a triangle of terrorists, government, and the media. More specifically, though, I shall be focusing on the tropes and stylistic strategies that writers have used to represent, mediate, and sometimes even practise, terrorism. In that sense, the figurations are not mere abstractions.

Bound up with the very relations of force and discourse that they engage with, they also present their own power of performativity and critique. Bearing that in mind, I am in no way offering this book as an historical overview of modern terrorism or the literature on it. While it covers writings on a range of terrorism, from the late-Victorian period to the contemporary, it is very much limited. The literature is simply not there.

The majority of the terrorism and literature that I consider is thus centred in the UK and the US, although given the international dimensions of both literary and terrorist practices in the twentieth century, I have invariably discussed them in relation to a wider—mostly European—context.