Theories of literary terrorism?
November 23, 2007 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Have any literary theorists or critics, or professors of literature, written about literary terrorism? By literary terrorism, I mean the use of flash violence to shock subvert political or cultural structures. I will especially appreciate studies that explicitly analyze these techniques in comparison with concrete terroristic acts.
posted by limon to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What does "flash violence" mean?
posted by mr_roboto at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2007

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I just meant sudden, spectacular acts of violence (like the 9/11 attacks) as opposed to drawn out, systematic brutality.
posted by limon at 11:50 AM on November 23, 2007

A lot of them have, actually. Just off the top of my head, both Baudrillard and Zizek wrote books about 9/11 that were published by Verso. You can get them on Amazon.
posted by BackwardsCity at 12:26 PM on November 23, 2007

"Literary terrorism" seems a somewhat obnoxious term, (speaking as a layperson).
Emotionaly loaded and ambiguous.

Is it current jargon in your field or can you find another way of expressing the idea?
"In a cultural critique that left five dead and dozens wounded, the Postmodern Front for the Liberation of the Photocopier ..."
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:08 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

What does 'literary terrorism' mean? Is it literature designed to shock and subvert? Literature about the use of shock and terror? Something that challenges the status quo or the canon? What does it mean?

Agree with sebastienballard, it sounds like jargon, and obnoxious, possibly meaningless jargon at that. Please clarify your terms.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:17 PM on November 23, 2007

Terrorism is by definition symbolic in some sense, so "literary terrorism" seems slightly redundant ... I'm not sure what you mean.

Regardless, you might want to read Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Juergensmeyer. It delves into religious terrorism as theater and analyzes the internal logic/justification/symbolism for several recent terrorist acts committed by followers of most major religions. He spends a lot of time considering how terrorist acts are "designed" to shock established political and cultural structures. Great book.
posted by qz at 2:26 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Are you asking if any authors have ever used terrorism or other cataclysmic event as a literary device?
posted by rhizome at 2:43 PM on November 23, 2007

nthing those who don't know what you mean, but here is an example of literary terrorism.
posted by londongeezer at 5:22 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

A search on the MLA International Bibliography* for the phrase "literary terrorism" as a keyword turns up zilch.

Add me to the list of people who don't know what you mean by the term. When you say "use of flash violence," do you mean descriptions in literature of violent scenes? Do you mean literature as a form of (conceptual? mental? cultural?) violence? Do you mean literature written about terrorism per se? Literature written in support of, or in sympathy with, real-world terror campaigns?

It would help a lot if you'd give examples of what you consider to be "literary terrorism."

*Not directly through the linked site but through one of the electronic subscription services.
posted by Orinda at 6:06 PM on November 23, 2007

londongeezer, your example doesn't really clarify this matter, especially as this young woman calls herself a "lyrical terrorist" and not a "literary" one. I really doubt limon is just referring to people who write rap lyrics that express sympathetic attitudes toward the intifada, or whatever.

limon, give us some examples. CONCRETE examples. Don't just keep defining your terms.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:14 PM on November 23, 2007

Perhaps Gayatri Spivak?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:03 PM on November 23, 2007

Now THAT is incomprehensible nonsense. I don't see "terrorism" there.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:36 PM on November 23, 2007

Mao II by Don Delillo is about this.
posted by chelseagirl at 7:55 AM on November 24, 2007

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