Tense Future: Modernism, Total War, Encyclopedic Form

ISBN : 9780190200954

Paul K. Saint-Amour
368 ページ
155 x 231 mm

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 pit both 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 the aerial 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 discusses its 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 for opposing total war, that strongest of strong theories.


Introduction: Traumatic Earliness
I. Bukimi
II. The Precincts of Time
III. Collective Psychosis
Facing Trauma
Critical Futurities
Three Interwars
Weak Modernism
Part One
1. On the Partiality of Total War
The Case of L. E. O. Charlton
Intimations of Totality
Interwar Air Power Theory
Rival Preemptions of Law and War
National Totality and Colonial Air Control
Bombing Display I
Bombing Display II
2. Perpetual Suspense: Virginia Woolf's Wartime Gothic
Morphologies of Suspense
Mark Time
Mrs. Dalloway and the Gaze of Total War
The Years: Immunities Lost and Found
3. Fantasias of the Archive: Hamilton's Savage and Jenkinson's Manual
A Promise of Terror to Come
Savage Foreclosures
Declining Fertility
Jenkinson's Manual
War Archives: Theory and Performance
Thoughts on Archives in an Air Raid
The Death Drive of the Archive
Part Two
4. Encyclopedic Modernism
Against Epic
Revisiting the Encyclopedie
The Eleventh
Encyclopedic Narrative
Modern Epic
Pace Bersani
5. The Shield of Ulysses
Ulysses' Encyclopedism
Encyclopedia Prophetica
Urban Violence and Amity Lines
Theater of Total War
6. War Shadowing: Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End
Uncyclopedia Britannica
Total Worry
Futures in Furniture
Conclusion: Perpetual Interwar
Appendix: Chapter Abstracts


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 volume Modernism and Copyright (OUP, 2010).