In this Book

summary

If art is our bid to make sense of the senseless, there is hardly more fertile creative ground than that of the twentieth century. From the trench poetry of World War I and Holocaust memoirs by Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel to the post-colonial novels of southern Asia and the anti-apartheid plays of the South African Market Theater, writers have married beauty and horror. This "century of trauma" produced writing at once saturated in political violence and complicated by the ethics of aesthetic representation. Stretching across genres and the globe, Terrible Beauty charts a course of aesthetic reconciliation between empathy and evil in the great literature of the twentieth century.

The "violent aesthetic"—a category the author traces back to Plato and Nietzsche—accommodates the pleasure people take not only in destruction itself but also in its rendering. As readers, we oscillate between a fascination with atrocity and an ethical imperative to bear witness. Arguing for the immersive experience of literature as particularly conducive to ethical contemplation, Marian Eide plumbs the aesthetic power and ethical purpose of this creative tension. By invoking the reader as complicit—both stricken witness and enthralled voyeur— Terrible Beauty sheds new light on the relationship between violence, literature, and the moral burdens of art.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. ix-xviii
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  1. The Violent Aesthetic: An Introduction
  2. pp. 1-30
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  1. Part I. Lyric Poetry
  2. pp. 31-34
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  1. 1. Witnessing and Trophy Hunting: Writing Violence from the Great War Trenches
  2. pp. 35-55
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  1. 2. Real Violence: W. B. Yeats and the Easter Rising
  2. pp. 56-74
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  1. 3. Mimetic Damage: The Poetry of Northern Ireland’s Troubles
  2. pp. 75-98
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  1. Part II. Postcolonial Novels
  2. pp. 99-104
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  1. 4. Partition’s Children: Ethnic Cleansing on the Indian Subcontinent
  2. pp. 105-143
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  1. 5. Slow Tyranny: Entangled Allegory in Recent Nigerian Novels
  2. pp. 144-178
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  1. Part III. Testimonial
  2. pp. 179-182
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  1. 6. “Going Through with It”: Holocaust Memoir and the Challenge of Beauty
  2. pp. 183-203
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  1. 7. Apartheid Spectacle: Race, Drama, and South Africa’s State of Emergency
  2. pp. 204-228
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 229-232
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 233-278
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 279-298
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 299-306
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813942360
MARC Record
OCLC
1083763086
Pages
336
Launched on MUSE
2019-02-07
Language
English
Open Access
No
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