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HAMILTON, Carol Vanderveer. " Dynamite: Anarchy As Modernist Aesthetic "

Saturday 5 June 2004

Ph.D. 1993. 213 P. University Of California, Berkeley,Chair: Carolyn Porter

DAI, VOL. 54-11A

“In modernist literature, I argue, the word "anarchy" has a specific historical referent, the almost forgotten anarchist movement that was virtually coterminous with modernism. In this period there was also a "discourse of anarchy" in the arts, inflected according to the politics of the speaker. In addition to literary texts and treatises on aesthetics, the dissertation includes discussions of and allusions to essays, pamphlets, books, and newspaper articles written by actual anarchists, and to histories and analyses of anarchism written by political scientists and historians.

…While Wagner’s anti-Semitism and his reception by the Nazis are common knowledge, his relationship to anarchism has received scant attention; I explore this relationship in detail in a chapter entitled "Wagner as Anarchist, Anarchists as Wagnerians."

In Chapter 2, "The Anarchist Sublime," I examine the rhetoric of chaos and the bomb in texts by anarchists (newspapers, pamphlets), The Education of Henry Adams, and Andrei Bely’s modernist novel Petersburg, arguing that the bomb is aestheticized in all these texts as a version of the Kantian sublime.

In Chapter 3, entitled "Conrad’s Natural Anarchists," I argue that the figure of the anarchist in The Secret Agent and two rather obscure Conrad short stories, "An Anarchist" and "The Informer," is understood as a psychological rather than a political entity.

Chapter 4, "Fellow Travelers: American Writers and the Sacco- Vanzetti Case," uses texts by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Katherine Anne Porter, Upton Sinclair, and John Dos Passos…”.