Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form

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9780190200947: Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form

We know that trauma can leave syndromes in its wake. But can the anticipation of violence be a form of violence as well? Tense Future argues that it can-that twentieth-century war technologies and practices, particularly the aerial bombing of population centers, introduced non-combatants to a coercive and traumatizing expectation. During wartime, civilians braced for the next raid; during peacetime they braced for the next war. The pre-traumatic stress they experienced permeates the century's public debates and cultural works. In a series of groundbreaking readings, Saint-Amour illustrates how air war prophets theorized the wounding power of anticipation, how archive theory changed course in war's shadow, and how speculative fiction conjured visions of a civilizational collapse that would end literacy itself. And in this book's central chapters, he shows us how Ford Madox Ford, Robert Musil, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and other interwar modernist writers faced the memory of one war and the prospect of another, some by pitting their fictions' encyclopedic scale and formal turbulence against total war, others by conceding war's inevitability while refusing to long for a politically regressive peace.

Total war: a conflict that exempts no one, disregarding any difference between soldier and civilian. Tense Future forever alters our understanding of the concept of total war by tracing its emergence during the First World War, its incubation in air power theory between the wars, and above all its profound partiality. For total war, during most of the twentieth century, meant conflict between imperial nation states; it did not include the violence those states routinely visited on colonial subjects during peacetime. Tacking back and forth between metropole and colony, between world war and police action, Saint-Amour describes the interwar refashioning of a world system of violence-production, one that remains largely intact in our own moment of perpetual interwar.

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About the Author:


Paul K. Saint-Amour is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination, winner of the MLA Prize for a First Book, and the editor of Modernism and Copyright. With Jessica Berman, he edits the Modernist Latitudes book series at Columbia University Press.

Review:


"...Tense Future offers not only novel readings of major modernist texts alongside total-war discourse but also a compelling portrait of the interwar years as the moment when the experience of late modernity, structured by the expectation of terrible violence, is most strikingly articulated and challenged in literature. ...Saint-Amour's illuminating book opens up a stimulating new way to comprehend twentieth-century culture, and Tense Future's performance of critical futurities...will no doubt shape, indeed drive, some significant
scholarship still to come." --modernism/modernity


"This short review scarcely does justice to the deftly plaited arguments of Tense Future, its interdisciplinary reach, conceptual daring, and literary brio. Saint-Amour's preface reveals that the book took ten years to be written, and its maturity testifies to the benefits of long gestation. Brilliantly original in conception and execution, Tense Future will terrorize the competition well into the future of modernist studies." --Modern Philology


"By moving our vision from earth to sky, from soldiers in the trenches to civilians under air raids, Paul Saint-Amour makes rich and surprising our understanding of the twentieth-century and its literature. Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, and we ourselves emerge in the arresting light of this first modern collective anxiety." --Elaine Scarry, author of Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom


"This book is a tour de force, introducing an entirely new approach to the modernist imagination. Saint-Amour makes us hear the undertones of menace in interwar literature, thereby reconfiguring modernist fiction as meditations on disasters to come." --Jay Winter, author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History


"Paul Saint-Amour reinterprets culture during the years between World War I and World War II as an era of anxious anticipation. Thoughtful, penetrating, and important, Tense Future expands our understanding of war's destructive power." --Mary L. Dudziak, author of War Time: An Idea, Its History, Its Consequences


"Tense Future moves fluently through the cultural records of the First World War, interwar, Second World War, and Cold War. Creating a wholly new archive, Saint-Amour does nothing less than shift the tense of imaginative action in the literature of major record: from memory, which Paul Fussell established as its primary imaginative circumstance, to anticipation; from reverie to dread. Our way of reading the literature of a century of war will be changed by this comprehensive and compelling account." --Vincent Sherry, author of Modernism and the Reinvention of Decadence


"...we should hope that a second volume of Tense Future is in the works..." -Public Books


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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Tense Future falls into two parts. The first develops a critical account of total war discourse and addresses the resistant potential of acts, including acts of writing, before a future that looks barred or predetermined by war. Part two shifts the focus to long interwar narratives that pit both their scale and their formal turbulence against total war s portrait of the social totality, producing both ripostes and alternatives to that portrait in the practice of literary encyclopedism. The book s introduction grounds both parts in the claim that industrialized warfare, particularly the aerial bombing of cities, intensifies an under-examined form of collective traumatization: a pretraumatic syndrome in which the anticipation of future-conditional violence induces psychic wounds. Situating this claim in relation to other scholarship on critical futurities, Saint-Amour discusses its ramifications for trauma studies, historical narratives generally, and the historiography of the interwar period in particular. The introduction ends with an account of the weak theory of modernism now structuring the field of modernist studies, and of weak theory s special suitability for opposing total war, that strongest of strong theories. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780190200947

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Descrizione libro 2015. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Hardcover. Tense Future falls into two parts. The first develops a critical account of total war discourse and addresses the resistant potential of acts, including acts of writing, befor.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 368 pages. 0.656. Codice libro della libreria 9780190200947

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