Sex, Violence, And The Avant-garde: Anarchism In Interwar France

Paperback | November 22, 2010

byRichard D. Sonn

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By the end of World War I, the conflict between anarchism and the state had largely been eclipsed by the competing forces of liberalism, fascism, and communism. To combat their slide into irrelevance, French anarchists, especially those called individualists, redirected their attentions from violent revolution and general strikes to ethical issues that focused on personal liberation. Chief among these issues was sexual freedom, sought not only for the sake of pleasure but also to undermine the authoritarian family, bulwark of the patriarchal state. In this revelatory book, Richard Sonn approaches the French anarchist movement during this period from a sociocultural perspective, considering the relationships among anarchism and the artistic avant-garde and surrealism, political violence and terrorism, sexuality and sexual politics, and gender roles. He shows that, contrary to popular belief, anarchism in theory and practice played a significant role in the culture of interwar France.

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By the end of World War I, the conflict between anarchism and the state had largely been eclipsed by the competing forces of liberalism, fascism, and communism. To combat their slide into irrelevance, French anarchists, especially those called individualists, redirected their attentions from violent revolution and general strikes to et...

Richard D. Sonn is Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. His previous books include Anarchism and Cultural Politics in Fin de Siècle France (1989).
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.98 × 6.02 × 0.67 inPublished:November 22, 2010Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271036648

ISBN - 13:9780271036649

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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: French Anarchism in the Interwar Era: Decline or Renewal?

Part I: Anarchist Bodies

1. Gender and Political Violence: The Case of Germaine Berton

2. The Bad Father and the Prodigal Son: The Death of Philippe Daudet

3. Anarchism and the Avant-Garde

4. Utopian Bodies: Anarchist Sexual Politics

5. “Your Body Is Yours”: Anarchism, Birth Control, and Eugenics

Part II: French Anarchists Between East and West

6. Facing East: Russians and Jews

7. Facing West: American Heroes

8. Renegades

Epilogue: The Renewal of Anarchism

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Editorial Reviews

Sex, Violence, and the Avant-Garde is an illuminating study, the eclectic nature of which seems to reflect the individualism so prevalent in the interwar anarchist movement and the personal liberties its followers held dear.”

—Robyn Roslak, H-France Book Reviews