Sarah Cole argues that violence in modernist literature challenges aesthetic, rhetorical and formal practices to both spur innovation and invigorate convention. Presenting violence, modernists negotiated between the poles of disenchantment (materialist reduction) and enchantment (idealist plenitude). The book addresses a variety of texts from the international dynamite novels of the fin de siècle to independence literature in Ireland and war writing in Britain. At the Violet Hour supplements trauma theory, arguing that violence elicits creativity, presenting itself as an origin story, a raison d’être for writing. Cole argues that violence and literary form “intersect and produce one another,” suggesting that violence elicits a literary kind of communication and that this literary expression itself produces another kind of violence. Not since Richard Slotkin’s monumental Regeneration through Violence has a literary critic so effectively expanded our understanding of literary violence.


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pp. 176-179
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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