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The first chapter claims that the imperial fiction of Joseph Conrad and William Faulkner rejects accounting as a totalizing logic, and by extension, questions the English novel’s complicity in propagating that false logic. Accounting, which had remained unobtrusively immanent to realist novels of empire, surfaces to the diegetic level in a classic instance of a thematization of the device and becomes available for critical contemplation. Drawing from Max Weber, Mary Poovey, and Georg Lukács, I attend in particular to the dandy accountant of Heart of Darkness, the accretive narrative structure of Nostromo, and Shreve’s recasting of Sutpen’s life as a debtor’s farce in Absalom, Absalom! If Conrad equates accounting with lying, Faulkner reveals secrets elided in rows of debit and credit one by one as sensational truths; to those ends, both writers invoke Gothic conventions. By dispatching the totalizing technique that had been invented by early modern merchants and finessed by realist novelists to generate faith in a transnational fiduciary community, Conrad and Faulkner impel the discovery of original forms with which to express the modern transnational world order.
This chapter considers how the powerfully controversial modernist novelist Joseph Conrad acquired his reputation as the first truly ‘global’ writer. A trilingual Polish expatriate, Conrad’s transnational identity was shaped by – and in turn helped shape our understandings of – a new sense of global interconnectedness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In texts such as Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and Nostromo, his engagement with what we would now call globalization is bedevilled by paradox and ambivalence. His writing scorns European globetrotters even as it beholds the world via a privileged Western gaze. His innocent fascination with maps is haunted by a guilty awareness of their political and ideological functions. Under no illusions about the vicious impact of European imperialism on non-European cultures, he often represents those cultures as voiceless, one-dimensional and exotically unknowable. Finally, his idealization of the sea as a bracingly pure alternative to the sordid political world of terra firma is steadily undercut by his sense that maritime space has long since been colonized by capitalist modernity.
Chapter 2 presents a chronological approach to the July crisis, the main theme emphasizing that it was Austria-Hungary that instigated the war, its leaders believing that Serbia had to be crushed. Particular attention is paid to the correspondence between the two general staffs and the emperors of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Demolishes all postwar Habsburg apologia and myths.
Chapter 1 details the multiple problems the Austro-Hungarian monarchy faced in the First World War: fiscal challenges and ethnic problems resulting from eleven different nationalities residing within the Dual Monarchy. A depiction of Conrad von Hoetzendorf and his disastrous military plans and defeats, as well as Emperor Franz Joseph, Alois Berchtold. It emphasizes the inferior training of the Habsburg Army, its obsolete weaponry and lack of consistent and adequate training. Lack of a central command, ethnic concerns and complicated reserve system.
“Crowd Involvements and Attachments,” analyzes and classifies group affect and other forms of thinking together, such as Heraclitean flows of group thought, sensation, and experience made available through new structures of collective feeling. The chapter counters arguments about the role of the leader with the proposition that the crowd may behave as an assemblage governed by an attractor, figured by characters such as James Wait, aboard the Narcissus, or Stevie in The Secret Agent. The function of Bloom for the crowd in “Cyclops” speaks to the crowd’s management of its anxieties and their effects. The chapter explores the interpenetration of public and private spaces in Sean O’Casey’s plays to understand crowds’ precise attachments to and exercise of design over the histories and semiotics of the metropolis, testing whether and in what manner they gain the sense of a shared life and act as a performative mass body.
"Compositions of the Crowds of Modernism" gives a preliminary assessment of modernist crowds’ of-what and with-what, that is, the experimental taxonomies and relations of collective life as composed in fiction by writers such as Conrad, Woolf, and H.G. Wells. The chapter describes some of the terrains and territories of modern crowds, including the structures and political ecologies within which mass societies were forming and to which modernist literatures respond. It enlists concepts such as equal relations, virtuality, and crowd symbols to understand the twentieth century’s disruptive struggles over inherited and established identities such as nation, gender, class, or race.
Chapter Three, “Crowds and Transformation,” synthesizes concepts of self-recovery, play, and collective intellect to explore what transformative tools and practices crowds were developing (in modernist fictional worlds) in order to identify and represent themselves, or to have as tactical weapons during their conflicts with elite authority. Conventional identity is creatively reworked by disarticulated performances such as Clarissa’s or the unnamed Captain in The Secret Sharer. The chapter maps mechanisms that produce modernity’s porous and transmissible social mind, exemplified in readings of Jacob’s Room and “Ithaca,” for example. Historical examples of street demonstrations and popular movements in the first decades of the twentieth century in England and Ireland are compared with readings of the permeable and suggestible crowds of “Wandering Rocks” and Wyndham Lewis’ writings, to differentiate what the book identifies as rising crowds from Lewis’ crowds of “extinction.” Finally, the chapter transitions to the concept of crowdedness as an ethical experience.
In Chapter Four, “Crowds and Agility,” the project turns to the fully imagined agile movement and potential virtuosity of modernist crowds, their reworked vocabularies across, and between media, their effectiveness in turning situations to advantage, and their conflictual relations with federating powers, established inequities, and inherited elitisms. In order to demonstrate the full scope of potentials involved, the chapter opens up to range more widely across a variety of media, aesthetics, and categories of works within modernism that simultaneously contribute to contriving a social space and interfering with its undemocratic spectacularization. In its most fully realized form, the modernist agile crowd claims to be unclassifiable within previous categories of social fields, and insists on a fundamental heterogeneity at the level of demand and composition.
The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by a Bosnian Serb, Gavrilo Princip, on June 28, 1914, touched off the series of events known as the July Crisis, which by early August resulted in five of Europe’s six great powers exchanging declarations of war. Austria-Hungary lacked specific knowledge of the Black Hand, the terrorist group to which Princip belonged, but correctly suspected he had ties to the Serbian army. After securing a pledge of support from its ally, Germany, Austria-Hungary gave an ultimatum to Serbia; under the influence of Conrad von Hötzendorf, chief of the general staff, the political leadership of Austria-Hungary had decided on war and crafted terms Serbia would be unable to accept. Serbia stood firm, supported by Russia, which responded to the demands on Serbia by becoming the first of the great powers to order a general mobilization. This decision triggered Germany’s Schlieffen Plan, which assumed victory against a combination including France and Russia could only be achieved if France were crushed first, with some of the invasion passing via Belgium. Amid the final ultimata and declarations of war, Germany’s invasion of Belgium ensured Britain would stand by its Triple Entente partners.
This introduction explains (1) these authors’ fascination with Greek tragedy, (2) their modern reenvisioning of it in contrast to consolatory philosophies of tragedy and science, (3) their representation instead of a natural world that is a source of terror, and (4) their stand against nihilism in the face of such terror. My contention is that for Hardy, Woolf, Camus, and Beckett, tragedy is not a genre that defends or valorizes pain. Tragedy is a genre of insurrectionary truth-telling. I suggest that their tragic fiction models or incites desire for solidarity in the face of inhuman time scales and the destructiveness and chanciness of natural history. These writers recognize, too, that modern European history acts as (rather than banishes) tragic fatality. Engaging with tragedy, these authors devise strategies to evoke and indict both natural accident and manmade violence.
The elections of 1125 and 1138 had provided cliques with opportunities to display and perhaps to abuse their power, even though kings do not appear to have feared the electoral procedure as such. Imperium or Imperial rule was the personal right of governance and justice which the king exercised in his three kingdoms. Imperium signified a geographical space called the Roman empire, occasionally rendered inaccurately as 'the German empire' by the imperial chancery simply because that reflected the realities of rule. To take examples from Germany, Lothar III, Conrad III and Frederick Barbarossa in turn referred to the authority of the imperium. Since the 1030s the western empire had consisted geographically of three kingdoms: Germany, called 'the Roman kingdom' to establish consistency with the title king of the Romans, Italy called 'the kingdom of Lombardy', its designation when conquered by Otto the Great, and Burgundy, whose southern portion bordering the Mediterranea.
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