OurSelves at War
OurSelves at War. Metaphorizations of Identity on the Borderline in Twentieth-Century Anglophone Literature
ISBN 978-3-86821-227-3, 196 S., kt., € 21,50 (2010)
(Anglistik - Amerikanistik - Anglophonie, Bd. 12)
As a field in which borderline negotiations between hero and enemy and, by implication, subject and object, take place in a paradigmatic fashion, war literature often deals with socio-historical and -political realities of theatres of war. Thus, criticism in this field often raises questions of political as well as personal authenticity against the backdrop of an empirical understanding of reality and subjectivity. OurSelves at War departs from this critical tradition by taking into account the fact that frameworks of reality as well as of signification, within which negotiations of identity "at war" are constituted, are subject to change and produce volatile forms of metaphoricity that go beyond a socio-historical empirical perspective on reality and identity. In order to map these forms and functions of metaphoricity, the study develops a theoretical framework which takes into consideration direct as well as increasingly complex and disintegrating metaphorizations of war. In a critical reading and conceptual specification of Jean Baudrillard's major concepts, different levels of reality/simulation are correlated with linguistic and visual modes of signification as theorized by Julia Kristeva, Georges Bataille, Laura Mulvey, Michel Foucault und Jacques Lacan. This enables a systematic assessment of reality beyond an empirical material understanding as well as a classification of significational modes beyond the hegemonic logic of the symbolic order in a survey of a variety of examples from twentieth-century Anglophone literature, which extends the classical definition of war literature: While political and psychological metaphoricity in the works of H. G. Wells, Jack London, Rebecca West, Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, and William Golding problematizes representations of war, selected works by Kurt Vonnegut, Paul Auster, and Sarah Kane are classified as post(post)modern examples of philosophical metaphoricity which question its representability. This study, which complements the critical assessment of war literature with a semiotic-philosophical view on ourselves at war, concludes with an outlook on the representation of war in film.
Buchvorschau / Inhaltsverzeichnis (pdf)
"OurSelves at War is an original and lively contribution to the field of literary criticism on war fiction, and is of particular interest to students and scholars of post-structuralism, semiotics, and gender studies. Its creative and innovative approach to the theories of Baudrillard and Virilio provides room for argument and new interpretations. It clashes head-on with some basic theoretical and methodological assumptions in cultural studies, and in critical and ma-terialist traditions in the humanities, in general, which makes it an exciting and stimulating read to engage with."
Florian Andrei Vlad, KULT_online 25 (2010)