Chapter

Introduction

Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe

in Crimes of Art + Terror

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780226472058
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226472089 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226472089.003.0001
Introduction

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This introductory chapter sets out the purpose of the book, which is to offer an extended description and analysis of a web of impulses, expressing themselves in a complex of long and deep running themes, a web that catches the unnerving radical spirit of the persistent culture of romanticism. The intention is to evoke a desperate culture of art, in place today as securely as it was in the literary and political flush times of romantic revolution. In a series of interwoven and mutually illuminating case studies, various forms of political extremism are related in order to show that to some extent they grow out of avant-garde artistic movements. From romanticism to modernism, these movements consciously presented themselves as revolutionary and sought to shake up—and even overturn—the order of the West. It shows that disturbing events of violence and terror—including the events of September 11—are in many ways governed by a logic that grows out of romantic tradition, as life imitates art with a vengeance and real terrorists take their inspiration from books.

Keywords: romanticism; case studies; political extremism; artistic movements; terrorism

Chapter.  1489 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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