Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form

Paperback | March 16, 2015

byPaul K. Saint-Amour

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Tense Future falls into two parts. The first develops a critical account of total war discourse and addresses the resistant potential of acts, including acts of writing, before a future that looks barred or predetermined by war. Part two shifts the focus to long interwar narratives that pitboth their scale and their formal turbulence against total war's portrait of the social totality, producing both ripostes and alternatives to that portrait in the practice of literary encyclopedism. The book's introduction grounds both parts in the claim that industrialized warfare, particularly theaerial bombing of cities, intensifies an under-examined form of collective traumatization: a pretraumatic syndrome in which the anticipation of future-conditional violence induces psychic wounds. Situating this claim in relation to other scholarship on "critical futurities," Saint-Amour discussesits ramifications for trauma studies, historical narratives generally, and the historiography of the interwar period in particular. The introduction ends with an account of the weak theory of modernism now structuring the field of modernist studies, and of weak theory's special suitability foropposing total war, that strongest of strong theories.

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Tense Future falls into two parts. The first develops a critical account of total war discourse and addresses the resistant potential of acts, including acts of writing, before a future that looks barred or predetermined by war. Part two shifts the focus to long interwar narratives that pitboth their scale and their formal turbulence a...

Paul K. Saint-Amour is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. President of the Modernist Studies Association, he currently coedits the Modernist Latitudes series published by Columbia UP. His previous books include The Copywrights: Copyright and the Literary Imagination (Cornell UP, 2003) and the edited vol...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:March 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190200952

ISBN - 13:9780190200954

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Traumatic EarlinessI. BukimiII. The Precincts of TimeIII. Collective PsychosisFacing TraumaCritical FuturitiesThree InterwarsWeak ModernismPart One1. On the Partiality of Total WarThe Case of L. E. O. CharltonIntimations of TotalityInterwar Air Power TheoryRival Preemptions of Law and WarNational Totality and Colonial Air ControlBombing Display IBombing Display II2. Perpetual Suspense: Virginia Woolf's Wartime GothicMorphologies of SuspenseMark TimeMrs. Dalloway and the Gaze of Total WarThe Years: Immunities Lost and Found"Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid"3. Fantasias of the Archive: Hamilton's Savage and Jenkinson's ManualA Promise of Terror to ComeSavage ForeclosuresDeclining FertilityJenkinson's ManualWar Archives: Theory and PerformanceThoughts on Archives in an Air RaidThe Death Drive of the ArchivePart Two4. Encyclopedic ModernismAgainst EpicRevisiting the EncyclopoedieThe EleventhEncyclopedic NarrativeModern EpicPace Bersani5. The Shield of UlyssesUlysses' EncyclopedismEncyclopedia PropheticaUrban Violence and Amity LinesTheater of Total WarScattering6. War Shadowing: Ford Madox Ford's Parade's EndUncyclopedia BritannicaTotal WorryFutures in FurnitureConclusion: Perpetual InterwarAppendix: Chapter AbstractsBibliographyIndex