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Payne offers an account of the unsettling effects of confessions of violence by armed left guerillas or revolutionary fighters in Argentina in two moments in Argentine history. The chapter considers how the timing of these confessions shaped responses to them. In the years shortly after the transition from authoritarian rule, contentious debate moved toward a full accounting on the left for its role in past violence. In recent years, this proved less possible. As the right reconsolidated its political power, the confessional narratives from the Argentine armed left fueled fears of a backlash against the left, reinforcing a view of the left’s shared responsibility with the authoritarian regime for human rights violations, and a call for its prosecution. This silencing of open debate over the left’s past actions prevented the process of condemning violations regardless of who committed them. The prescriptive dimension to this observation highlights the need for urgency in thinking self-critically, to reflect broadly on the motives and consequences of violence, and to use moments of political advantage to condemn those parts of the (temporarily) dominant power’s past that deserve condemnation.
This chapter explores the formative role that political oratory played in the literary culture of the early republic, with a particular focus on the statesman's address. American literature bears a strong relationship to oral forms and styles. In the period covered by this volume, the interplay of oral and written language shapes the works of Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, while oratory figures importantly in such notable novels as Modern Chivalry (1792–1815), Wieland (1798), and Last of the Mohicans (1826). Political speech was far more central to the literary culture of the day than was the novel, with oratorical culture dominating English education until after the Civil War. “The Statesman's Address” considers the influence of Native American oratory and evangelical preaching on a genre that came into its own in the Revolutionary period and gained importance as the contours of the new republic were defined and contested.
The great problem in writing about Proudhon and his Confessions of a Revolutionary is to find a “bottom line” – an interpretation that does justice to the changing views of this contrarian thinker without losing all coherence. Hyperbole and exaggeration are constants in Proudhon’s writing, but his message is generally moderate. The focus in this chapter is, first of all, on the contrast between Proudhon’s verbal violence and his skeptical and ironic attitude with regard to the views of self-proclaimed radicals. A constant is his rejection of the top-down radicalism epitomized by the “Jacobin socialist” Louis Blanc. In terms of Proudhon’s experience, the important point is that the revolution of 1848 drew him into a new life. It made him a representative of the people and an influential journalist. It made him the butt of attacks but also gave him a wider audience than he had ever previously enjoyed. He became the scapegoat of the right. But after the June Days, he also became the spokesman for “the people” betrayed by the revolution. His Confessions of a Revolutionary is both an account of his own making as a revolutionary and of the unmaking of the democratic revolution.
This essay explores the particular forms that Jonsonian politics took across the period from the 1790s to the 1830s through two detailed case studies. The first explores the uses of Jonson made by the radical lecturer and political reformer, John Thelwall, from 1794–6. Thelwall offers a reading of a public Jonson whose presence in the lecture room and in political pamphlets is vitally connected with the discourses of political possibility made available by and in this post-Revolutionary moment in English history. The second case study explores contrastingly private uses of Jonson made by Charles Lamb, a writer who for a long time was sweetened by his posthumous reception into a far less political, engaged and awkward writer than he should now seem. Lamb’s annotated copy of the Jonson third folio is for the first time available to study after its purchase by Princeton University Library. The essay suggests that these annotations have their origin in the moment of mid-1790s protest to which Thelwall’s Jonson had belonged, and in which Lamb, too, played a part. Over the course of his many returns to reading Jonson, Lamb inscribes a Romantic politics in Jonson’s margins, a politics that today may have renewed relevance.
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