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Crimes of Art + Terror

Frank Lentricchia and Jody McAuliffe

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780226472058
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226472089 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226472089.001.0001
Crimes of Art + Terror

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Do killers, artists, and terrorists need one another? This book explores the disturbing adjacency of literary creativity to violence and even political terror. The book begins by anchoring the discussions in the events of 9/11 and the scandal provoked by composer Karlheinz Stockhausen's reference to the destruction of the World Trade Center as a great work of art, and they go on to show how political extremism and avant-garde artistic movements have fed upon each other for at least two centuries. The book reveals how the desire beneath many romantic literary visions is that of a terrifying awakening that would undo the West's economic and cultural order. This is also the desire, of course, of what is called terrorism. As the authority of writers and artists recedes, it is criminals and terrorists, the book suggests, who inherit this romantic, destructive tradition. Moving freely between the realms of high and popular culture, and fictional and actual criminals, the book describes a web of impulses that catches an unnerving spirit. This unorthodox approach pairs Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment with Martin Scorsese's King of Comedy, and connects the real-life Unabomber to the surrealist Joseph Cornell and to the hero of Bret Easton Ellis's bestselling novel American Psycho. The book evokes a desperate culture of art through thematic dialogues among authors and filmmakers as varied as Don DeLillo, Joseph Conrad, Francis Ford Coppola, and Jean Genet, among others.

Keywords: killers; artists; terrorists; literary creativity; violence; political terror; 9/11; Karlheinz Stockhausen; World Trade Center; political extremism

Book.  197 pages. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Groundzeroland in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Literary Terrorists in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Solitary Savages in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Crossing The Line in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Rough Trade in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Deliberate Orphans in Crimes of Art + Terror

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Coda in Crimes of Art + Terror

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