The Language of War: Literature and Culture in the U. S. from the Civil War Through World War II

The Language of War: Literature and Culture in the U. S. from the Civil War Through World War II

by James R. Dawes
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674006488

ISBN-13: 9780674006485

Pub. Date: 02/28/2002

Publisher: Harvard University Press

From the Book

During war language is censored, encrypted, and euphemized; imperatives replace dialogue, and nations communicate their intentions most dramatically through the use of injury rather than symbol; talks are broken off, individuals are reduced to silence by traumatic experience, and witnesses are exterminated. War's violence shrinks langauge and

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Overview

From the Book

During war language is censored, encrypted, and euphemized; imperatives replace dialogue, and nations communicate their intentions most dramatically through the use of injury rather than symbol; talks are broken off, individuals are reduced to silence by traumatic experience, and witnesses are exterminated. War's violence shrinks langauge and damages communication; this diminishment of discourse (arguments, pleas, justifications, appeals for sympathy) in turn enables more violence.

In the following chapters three primary features in the development of modern violence are examined: first, the multiplication of violence in the Civil War, with its unthinkable body-counts and its anguished deabte over the moral status of both the individual soldier and the language used to commemorate him; second, the industrialization of violence in World War I, with its startling innovations in weapons technology and its subsequent destabilization of basic moral categories like caring and harming, intimacy and injury; and third, the rationalized organization of violence in World War II, which saw language shattered in the centralizing bureaucracies of the military-industrial complex and reinvented in the rise of international human rights law. Drawing upon legal theory, moral philosophy, and organizational sociology, this book analyzes how the pressures of violence in each historical moment gave rise to important changes in aesthetic forms and cultural discourses, and develops a theory of force and discourse that links specialized modes of verbalization to the deceleration of violence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674006485
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2002
Pages:
318
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.16(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Language and Violence: The Civil War and Literary and Cultural Theory

1. Counting on the Battlefield:

Literature and Philosophy after the Civil War

2. Care and Creation:

The Anglo-American Modernists

3. Freedom, Luck, and Catastrophe:

Ernest Hemingway, John Dewey, and Immanuel Kant

4. Trauma and the Structure of Social Norms:

Literature and Theory between the Wars

5. Language, Violence, and Bureaucracy:

William Faulkner, Joseph Heller, and Organizational Sociology

6. Total War, Anomie, and Human Rights Law

Notes

Index

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