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Through his first four decades, Giovanni Amendola strode energetically down the Italian road to liberalism. From his origins in an uncelebrated part of Campania, from a family clinging to the lowest rungs of the middle class, he moved determinedly up and up. En route, there were numerous staging posts: moderate socialism, religion of great variety (but never Catholicism), marriage to a ‘new woman’ from the Romanov empire, pure philosophy, political philosophy, academic life, political journalism, war service with promotion in his country’s officer corps, and then, in November 1919, election to the Chamber of Deputies for one of the seats in the College of Salerno. That first direct step towards political power was followed speedily by appointment to what was the outer cabinet, but with the crucial post-war task of helping to manage Italy’s finances. Within the framework of Italian liberalism, as set in place by the Risorgimento, other young men also emerged into political prominence. But few ranged quite was widely as young Giovanni Amendola.
Willpower is often understood as a muscle of the mind that we can learn to flex. The perennial philosophical problems of weakness of the will and freedom of the will. But as science reminds us, everything has a cause, and this includes our will. These conclusions accord well with our phenomenological experiences. Most of what we do is governed by habits. We act as we come to do what a certain situation calls for. As a result there can be no such thing as self-determination. We can never have power over ourselves. The historical overview focuses on the crisis of willpower at the turn of the twentieth century. Factory labor, standing to attention, and the mechanization of life resulted in neurasthenia and other mental afflictions. Dreams of daredevilry, colonialism, and war were ways to break free and restore freedom of movement. The illusion of national self-determination.
Viewed by some as the saviour of his nation, and by others as a racist imperialist, who was Winston Churchill really, and how has he become such a controversial figure? Combining the best of established scholarship with important new perspectives, this Companion places Churchill's life and legacy in a broader context. It highlights different aspects of his life and personality, examining his core beliefs, working practices, key relationships and the political issues and campaigns that he helped shape, and which in turn shaped him. Controversial subjects, such as area bombing, Ireland, India and Empire are addressed in full, to try and explain how Churchill has become such a deeply divisive figure. Through careful analysis, this book presents a full and rounded picture of Winston Churchill, providing much needed nuance and context to the debates about his life and legacy.
This book is the first comprehensive study of images of rape in Italian painting at the dawn of the Renaissance. Drawing on a wide range of primary sources, Péter Bokody examines depictions of sexual violence in religion, law, medicine, literature, politics, and history writing produced in kingdoms (Sicily and Naples) and city-republics (Florence, Siena, Lucca, Bologna and Padua). Whilst misogynistic endorsement characterized many of these visual discourses, some urban communities condemned rape in their propaganda against tyranny. Such representations of rape often link gender and aggression to war, abduction, sodomy, prostitution, pregnancy, and suicide. Bokody also traces how the new naturalism in painting, introduced by Giotto, increased verisimilitude, but also fostered imagery that coupled eroticism and violation. Exploring images and texts that have long been overlooked, Bokody's study provides new insights at the intersection of gender, policy, and visual culture, with evident relevance to our contemporary condition.
The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School was a child of total war. In the aftermath of World War I, its founding members sought to understand the new phenomenon of total mobilization, the integration of all aspects of state, society, and economy into a war effort that effectively erased traditional distinctions between war and peace. Their conception of Marxism, and the development of their critiques of mass culture and fascism, were shaped by the outcome of this effort at understanding total warfare. This chapter reconstructs the trajectory of the critical responses to total warfare in the Weimar period by the founders of Critical Theory and their counterparts on the German Right. It reviews core texts by Horkheimer and Adorno to see how their critique of mass culture in the United States and fascist mobilization in Germany are informed by their encounter with total mobilization. In its concluding section, the chapter argues that the power of this critical project came at a steep price: convinced of totalizing nature of modern warfare, critical theorists had few resources to respond to new, lower-intensity armed conflicts characteristic of decolonization struggles.
War and language have a symbiotic relationship. On the one hand, wars are carried on and remembered through a proliferation of linguistic discourse. On the other, language is often a site of violent action and the battlefield of fierce struggles for power. This chapter explores the symbiosis between war and language at two different levels. First, it delves into the language of war as explored by modern and contemporary writers and thinkers. Second, it analyzes the language on war by suggesting the most common family resemblances of war writing (e.g., the preponderance of the adynaton, the absurd, the sublime, metaliterature and self-referentiality, the embedding of reflections on war, the presence of an authorial ethical stand, the importance of the senses, factuality), as well as by studying three of its main parameters. At the end, the chapter argues that the writing on war openly addresses epistemological, ontological, and ethical issues that most, if not all, literary writing has to face sooner or later, and it concludes that since it self-consciously brings out essential aspects of any literary artifact, war writing constitutes an apotheosis of literature itself.
Drawing on literary works from the Revolutionary Wars (Schiller’s Die Jungfrau von Orleans and Kleist’s Hermannsschlacht), the First World War (Erich Maria Remarque’s Im Westen nichts Neues and Ernst Jünger’s In Stahlgewittern), the Second World War (Christa Wolf's Kindheitsmuster) and the recent Iraq War (Handke’s Yugoslavia essays and Jelinek’s Bambiland), this chapter argues that the perception of specific historical wars is marked by distinct configurations of time and historicity. Literary representations of the Revolutionary Wars tend to conceive of war within a gradual unfolding of national destiny. Depictions of the First World War chafe against linear concepts of time and against concepts of temporal homogeneity. Representations of the Second World War radically deconstruct concepts of linearity and teleology. Here, time is a web in which the past impinges on the present and the present impacts the future. Both Handke’s and Jelinek’s texts, finally, are characterized by a detachment or even alienation from time and space occasioned by the mediatization of warfare on television and the web.
Literary and filmic renditions of war are often organized around expressions of heightened sensation and aptitude. Sensation functions as a kind of other or alternative to trauma, a way of figuring the extreme experience of war in terms that, like trauma, separate the soldier from the ordinary citizen. At the same time, civilian texts by writers as diverse as H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, Rebecca West, and Kurt Vonnegut have explored the way sensation and other forms of exaltation, including the sublime, might also characterize the civilian experience of war. This chapter explores the close connection between the motifs of sublimity and sensation in war with other related principles that have characterized twentieth-century literature, considering both combatant and civilian texts. The chapter argues that the moral culture of the twentieth century requires that we acknowledge the shared experience of war across combat and non-combatant lines, and second, that the slippage between these two, and the rendering of exaltation as a value that can be abstracted from war, carries its own moral risks.
Few concepts have become as closely associated with war literature as trauma. War literature revolves around the isolated voices of soldiers and their deeply unsettled afterlives – it takes as its subject matter the individual experience and consequences of war. This chapter argues, however, that the mass may be more than incidental in our understanding of how war literature embodies trauma. An overwhelming experience, trauma is deeply entangled with mass warfare, industrialisation, and the homogenous, empty time of global capitalism. The question of mass or scale is central to how we have come to conceptualise trauma more generally, whether in relation to genocide, pandemics, ecological limits to growth, or the political consequences of global finance or even mass trauma itself. Understood as a structural condition of anxiety, trauma is now even encroaching upon the future as a pre-traumatic foreboding of militarism and the threat of global catastrophe. Examining these links between war and the mass, this chapter suggests a reconceptualization of trauma that associates its characteristic temporal dislocations with questions of scale, uniformity, and incomprehension.
In the literary field, the intertwinement of war and religion is nowhere as prominent as in epic poetry. Within the European horizon Christian-Muslim confrontations are prominent, not only in chansons de geste and in Renaissance epics, the standard highlights of literary history, but right back to early Muslim-Byzantine confrontations and Carolingian warfare in the Iberian Peninsula, as well as through the seventeenth and even the eighteenth centuries. This chapter explores ways in which epic poetry participates in spatial delineations and cultural articulations of Europe as a Christian realm from the Iberian Peninsula through the Mediterranean to Central and Eastern Europe. It also considers ways in which a variety of nuances may be detected beyond the overall religious framing of conflicts: empathy vis-à-vis the enemy may be articulated, and problematic behavior of national-imperial soldiery may be exposed; admiration for aspects of Muslim culture – and even for major enemies – may be articulated; furthermore commercial as well as other secular concerns (like piracy) may motivate warfare that is framed as religious.
Over the last decades both 'war' and 'media' have been unleashed – both conceptually and in practice – in ways that defy conventional understanding of the terms. One obvious reason is digitization, the explosive, closely entangled growth of cyberwar and cyberspace. This make it all the more important to scrutinize the peculiar mutual attraction the study of war and the study of media tend to exert upon each other. For media studies, the study of war, and the progress of weapons technology in particular, allows for the creation of evolutionary models that privilege internal dynamics of technological supersession at the expense of external factors. The focus on new, increasingly autonomous media technologies, in turn, privileges variants of technological solutionism on the side of military experts and historians. In both cases, however, conceptual difficulties arise not only from the unprecedented growth of new infrastructures, but also from the realization that both 'war' and 'media' were never – or only in a fairly limited post-1648 European context – what the terms commanded them to be.
We know from the ancient epics that war has been entangled with literature since the earliest times. But war has also had a profound influence on the broader field of literary studies. Indeed, numerous twentieth- and twenty-first-century literary theories have been shaped by warfare, while contemporary critical engagements have given rise to several recurring and emerging concepts that together structure the field of literary war studies. The introductory chapter seeks to inscribe war and literature within the larger frame of the history of knowledge. It traces the emergence of the theory and history of knowledge as a distinct discipline from its French origins in Foucault’s archaeology to the contemporary German Wissensgeschichte and it explores the place of war literature within this tradition. The chapter argues that literature serves as an archive of military knowledges and a distinct form of knowledge in its own right. And it examines war as a disruptive and generative force that at once disturbs established concepts and theories and produces new modes of knowing, thinking, and writing.
In her review of Joshua Goldstein’s War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa, Francine D’Amico writes: “War is constructed as a test or signifier of manhood/masculinity: victory is confirmation of male identity, defeat is emasculation. Femininity is constructed to reinforce the ‘man as warrior’ construction, both in support roles as nurse, mother, or wife and in opposition as peace activist: all confirm militarized masculinity.” Building on this observation, this chapter asks whether war fiction and poetry support and reinforce these popularized conceptions, or whether they offer opposing or more complex views. Examining some of the most classic and popular war novels of the twentieth century such as Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, this chapter shows that these popular war novels of the twentieth century do not promote “militarized masculinity” but focus instead on the physical, psychological, and emotional cost of war by portraying its devastating effects on both men and women.
War features prominently in the broader formation of thought commonly referred to as French Theory. Particularly in the late 1970s and 1980s war attracted the attention of a number of the leading thinkers in France. In 1976 Michel Foucault offered his lecture course at the Collège de France, Il faut défendre la société; in the same year Raymond Aron published his large tome Penser la guerre: Clausewitz; in 1980 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari developed their theory of nomadology and the war machine in Milles plateaux; and in 1987 Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho published their wargame Le Jeu de la guerre, originally invented in 1965. This chapter examines the key role that war comes to play in French Theory from the 1970s onward. It traces the flux of historical concepts from early-nineteenth-century Prussian military thought into high theory in France and their transformation from military concepts into metaphors and figures of thought. It thereby offers an overview of the of the productive impact of war on French Theory, but also critically stakes out the limits of the militarization of thinking.
War and Literary Studies poses two main questions: First, how has war shaped the field of literary studies? And second, when scholars today study the literature of war what are the key concepts in play? Seeking to complement the extant scholarship, this volume adopts a wider and more systematic approach as it directs our attention to the relation between warfare and literary studies as a field of knowledge. What are the key characteristics of the language of war? Of gender in war? Which questions are central to the way we engage with war and trauma or war and sensation? In which ways were prominent 20th century theories such as critical theory, French postwar theory, postcolonial theory shaped by war? How might emergent concepts such as 'revolution,' 'the anthropocene' or 'capitalism' inflect the study of war and literature?
The chapter looks at the devastations caused by nuclear testing, the links between environmental thinking and nuclear culture, and the twenty-first-century apocalyptic imaginary generated by climate breakdown and the post-Chernobyl and post-Fukushima nature of the second nuclear age. It reviews the Derridean moment of Nuclear Criticism at the very end of the Cold War through the lens of green Marxism by way of a meditation on the representation of nuclearized sites, deserts, islands, and wastelands, from the Cold War to the present. The chapter redefines the questions raised by Nuclear Criticism on the textuality of global war systems, on the impossibility of post-archival dreaming, through the modalities of environmental apocalypse now. The aesthetic repertoire of the chapter comprises John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife, stories by J. G. Ballard and the work of Jessica Hurley on Maori author James George’s Ocean Roads, Marlo Starr on Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner's Iep Jaltok, Philip K. Dick’s short story ‘Second Variety,’ DeLillo’s Underworld, and the work of the Nuclear Culture Research Group.
The tenure of Donald Trump as US president has been characterized by a double movement. One, centripetal, is toward an extreme personalization of the office of the presidency; the other, centrifugal, is toward a heightened diffusion through the social media of constant affective agitations emanating from the White House. The hold Trump maintains on his supporters and the negative fascination he exerts on his opponents is often analyzed in traditional terms of identification (and disidentification) with a charismatic leader. This flattens the account onto an interior psychological dimension, obscuring the fact that Trump is as much a corporate brand and a platform-phenomenon as he is a psychological subject. In fact, his subjectivity is symbiotic with, if not utterly dependent upon, the externalization, circulation, and feedback effects of media-borne affective agitations that rebound throughout the social field: more an affective node in a transindividual assemblage than an individual subject as traditionally understood. This chapter examines what concept of the "person" might apply to such an assemblage, and what the term "the personality of power" might mean in the internet age.
Marxism has long been criticized for its failure to elaborate a theoretical analysis of war. Prioritising a commercial view of history, Marxism has treated war as either a tool of policy or an anachronistic aberration. However, a more foundational and determinate role for capitalism’s violence has begun to be elaborated by Marxist scholars concerned with the place of accumulation in the history of capitalism. Alliez and Lazzarato, for example, insist that the violence of primitive accumulation subtends all capital relations. Capitalism, they argue, has always depended upon the expropriation of nature and so operates as a form of colonial warfare. This chapter draws on their insights to examine Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians. Although the novel has been criticized by Marxist theorists for lacking a fully realised class analysis, its narrative of an unnamed Empire’s pitiless campaigns against barbarian forces offers an account of how commerce expropriates lives and land. This chapter argues that the personal ethics of corporeality, truth, and pain developed in the novel cannot be understood outside of this concern with the violent, collective experience of capital accumulation.
This chapter situates the work of the German writer W. G. Sebald within Foucault’s paradigm of biopolitical war, which is torn between a concern with State racism and a concern with extinction. Sebald’s work is often considered in relation to World War II and the Holocaust, in other words, in relation to State racism. The chapter seeks to shift this frame of reference toward the Cold War and the reality of Mutually Assured Destruction, which are important concerns in Sebald’s oeuvre as well. This invites us to consider Sebald as an author engaged not only with State racism but also with what Foucault calls “the atomic situation.” Specifically, the chapter considers the use of lists in Sebald’s work not only as a memorial effort in response to the destruction of World War II but also as an effort to record all of life in anticipation of its disappearance. Finally, it shows that such a use of the list exceeds Sebald’s fiction and can be found in a range of related contemporary fiction and theory. Today, in the Anthropocene, the biopolitical war exceeds the issue of State racism and includes that of extinction, human and otherwise – including the extinction of literature itself.
As literary scholars have become increasingly concerned with the cultural significance of warfare, the concept of revolution has lost much of the authority it has traditionally enjoyed in discussions of aesthetics and politics. This chapter argues that literary studies have much to learn from the accounts of language and violence found in both military and revolutionary discourses. The first part of the chapter focuses on the maverick status of the word “revolution” in post-Enlightenment thought and describes the emergence of a theory of revolutionary language in Marx and his inheritors. The second part concentrates on Clausewitz’s understanding of state violence, asking why his conception of war should prove so attractive to revolutionaries. The final section of the chapter considers whether the attention paid to war and revolution has led to the neglect of a potentially more fundamental form of conflict: civil war. In closing, it is suggested that as nation-states lose their monopoly on large-scale organized violence, literary and cultural studies will have to embrace new paradigms of transnational and subnational strife.