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At the violet hour : Modernism and violence in England and Ireland / Sarah Cole.

By: Cole, Sarah.
Material type: TextTextSeries: Modernist literature & culture: Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, ©2012Description: xiv, 377 pages ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780195389616; 0195389611; 9780199389063; 0199389063.Subject(s): Violence in literature | English literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism | English literature -- Irish authors -- History and criticism | Modernism (Literature) -- Great Britain | Literature | English literature | English literature -- Irish authors | Modernism (Literature) | Violence in literature | Great Britain | Englisch | Literatur | Moderne | Gewalt | Großbritannien | Irland | Våld i litteraturen | Engelsk litteratur -- historia | Irländska författare | Modernism (litteratur) | 1900-1999 | 1900-taletGenre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc.DDC classification: 820.9/3552
Contents:
Enchanted and disenchanted violence -- Dynamite violence: from melodrama to menace -- Cyclical violence: the Irish Insurrection and the limits of enchantment -- Patterns of violence: Virginia Woolf in the 1930's.
Summary: Literature has long sought to make sense of the destruction and aggression wrought by human civilization. Yet no single literary movement was more powerfully shaped by violence than modernism. As Sarah Cole shows, modernism emerged as an imaginative response to the devastating events that defined the period, including the chaos of anarchist bombings, World War I, the Irish uprising, and the Spanish Civil War. Combining historical detail with resourceful readings offiction, poetry, journalism, photographs, and other cultural materials, At the Violet Hour explores the strange intimacy between modernist aesthetics and violence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The First World War and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land demonstrate the new theoretical paradigm that Cole deploys throughout her study, what she calls "enchanted" and "disenchanted" violence-the polarizing perceptions of violent death as either the fuel for regeneration or the emblem of grotesque loss. These concepts thread through the literary-historical moments that form the core of her study, beginning with anarchism and the advent of dynamite violence in late Victorian England. As evinced in novels by Joseph Conrad, Henry James, and others, anarchism fostered a vibrant, modern consciousness of violence entrenched in sensationalism and melodrama. A subsequent chapter offers four interpretive categories-keening, generative violence, reprisal, and allegory-for reading violence in works by W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, and others around the time of Ireland's Easter Rising. The book concludes with a discussion of Virginia Woolf's oeuvre, placing the author in two primary relations to the encroaching culture of violence: deeply exploring and formalizing its registers; and veering away from her peers to construct an original set of patterns to accommodate its visceral ubiquity in the years leading up to the Second World War. A rich interdisciplinary study that incorporates perspectives from history, anthropology, the visual arts, and literature, At the Violet Hour provides a resonant framework for refiguring the relationship between aesthetics and violence that will extend far beyond the period traditionally associated with literary modernism.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
PR478.V56 C65 2012 (Browse shelf) Available 0000002309425

Includes bibliographical references (pages 343-361) and index.

Enchanted and disenchanted violence -- Dynamite violence: from melodrama to menace -- Cyclical violence: the Irish Insurrection and the limits of enchantment -- Patterns of violence: Virginia Woolf in the 1930's.

Literature has long sought to make sense of the destruction and aggression wrought by human civilization. Yet no single literary movement was more powerfully shaped by violence than modernism. As Sarah Cole shows, modernism emerged as an imaginative response to the devastating events that defined the period, including the chaos of anarchist bombings, World War I, the Irish uprising, and the Spanish Civil War. Combining historical detail with resourceful readings offiction, poetry, journalism, photographs, and other cultural materials, At the Violet Hour explores the strange intimacy between modernist aesthetics and violence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The First World War and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land demonstrate the new theoretical paradigm that Cole deploys throughout her study, what she calls "enchanted" and "disenchanted" violence-the polarizing perceptions of violent death as either the fuel for regeneration or the emblem of grotesque loss. These concepts thread through the literary-historical moments that form the core of her study, beginning with anarchism and the advent of dynamite violence in late Victorian England. As evinced in novels by Joseph Conrad, Henry James, and others, anarchism fostered a vibrant, modern consciousness of violence entrenched in sensationalism and melodrama. A subsequent chapter offers four interpretive categories-keening, generative violence, reprisal, and allegory-for reading violence in works by W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, and others around the time of Ireland's Easter Rising. The book concludes with a discussion of Virginia Woolf's oeuvre, placing the author in two primary relations to the encroaching culture of violence: deeply exploring and formalizing its registers; and veering away from her peers to construct an original set of patterns to accommodate its visceral ubiquity in the years leading up to the Second World War. A rich interdisciplinary study that incorporates perspectives from history, anthropology, the visual arts, and literature, At the Violet Hour provides a resonant framework for refiguring the relationship between aesthetics and violence that will extend far beyond the period traditionally associated with literary modernism.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Cole (Columbia Univ.) combines formal and historical analyses to explore modernism's relentless engagement with violence. For Cole, modernism is caught between opposing ways of understanding violence, which she names "enchanted" and "disenchanted." In the former, violence is generative, sublime; in the latter, it is unredeemable, sheer waste. WW I poetry (not least, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land) provides Cole with her initial illustration of these intertwined modes; the disenchanted refusal of idealization generates enchanted ways of thinking and acting. The author develops this theoretical paradigm by considering canonical literary responses to exemplary manifestations of violence in the period, e.g., Conrad's The Secret Agent and late-19th-century anarchism; works by J. M. Synge, Sean O'Casey, and W. B. Yeats and events around the Irish Easter "Rising"; Virginia Woolf's late work and the rise of fascism. Cole argues that violence demands a "creative reckoning." The problem incited by that reckoning--how to acknowledge violence without extolling it--finds its most incisive formulation in Woolf. Whereas the prevailing rhetoric contested violence by embracing it, Woolf acknowledged violence by dispersing it, specifically by refiguring it as pattern. Cole's well-written, formidably researched book is a treasure trove of incisive readings that will surely become a classic. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. D. Stuber Hendrix College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Sarah Cole is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and the author of Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War.

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