Since World War II, the story of the trauma hero—the noble white man psychologically wounded by his encounter with violence—has become omnipresent in America’s narratives of war, an imaginary solution to the contradictions of American political hegemony. In Total Mobilization, Roy Scranton cuts through the fog of trauma that obscures World War II, uncovering a lost history and reframing the way we talk about war today. Considering often overlooked works by James Jones, Wallace Stevens, Martha Gellhorn, and others, alongside cartoons and films, Scranton investigates the role of the hero in industrial wartime, showing how such writers struggled to make sense of problems that continue to plague us today: the limits of American power, the dangers of political polarization, and the conflicts between nationalism and liberalism. By turning our attention to the ways we make war meaningful—and by excavating the politics implicit within the myth of the traumatized hero—Total Mobilization revises the way we understand not only World War II, but all of postwar American culture.
|Publisher:||University of Chicago Press|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Roy Scranton is assistant professor of English at the University of Notre Dame and the author of Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of Civilization, We’re Doomed. Now What? Essays on War and Climate Change, and two novels, War Porn and I Heart Oklahoma!
Table of Contents
List of FiguresIntroduction: A True War Story Chapter 1: The Bomber
The Bomber Lyric The Bomber as Scapegoat: Randall Jarrell’s “Eighth Air Force” Atrocity Aesthetics: James Dickey’s “The Firebombing” Agency and Death Chapter 2: Repetitions of a Hero
The Negro Hero and the Nation within a Nation The Hero as Social Media: The Caine Mutiny Participating in the Heroic: Wallace Stevens and the Poetry of War The Reality of the Modern State: The Thin Red Line Chapter 3: War as Comedy
Zany Dialectics: “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips” The Education of a War Poet: Kenneth Koch at War Barbaric Poetry: From Okinawa to the Cold War Encoding War: “Sun Out” and “The Islands” Chapter 4: Total War and Historical Time
War as Origin Myth: Joan Didion’s Run River War as a Promise to the Future: “Letter from Paradise, 21° 19′ N., 157° 52′ W.” The Hanged Man and the Military-Industrial Complex: The Young Lions and Gravity’s Rainbow One World, One War: The Great War and Modern Memory War as Fantasy: Star Wars Chapter 5: The Trauma Hero
Combat Gnosticism from Clausewitz to The Yellow Birds Traumatic Revelation “The Good War” and Postmodern Memory Conclusion: Nothing Is Over Acknowledgments Works Cited Index