By Deaglán Ó Donghaile
Dynamite novels meet intellectual modernism through the impression of terrorism. among 1880 and 1915, a number writers exploited terrorism's political shocks for his or her personal inventive ends. Drawing on late-Victorian 'dynamite novels' via authors together with Robert Louis Stevenson, Tom Greer and Robert Thynne, radical journals and papers, corresponding to The Irish humans, The Torch, Anarchy and Freiheit, and modernist writing from H.G. Wells and Joseph Conrad to the compulsively militant modernism of Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticists, Ó Donghaile maps the political and aesthetic connections that bind the shilling shocker heavily to modernism
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Extra resources for Blasted literature : Victorian political fiction and the shock of modernism
107–8) Dynamite is not just a high explosive: it is the ‘chosen medium’ of the conspirator who uses it to convey a message and, in trying to depoliticise the motivations of Irish bombers, Stevenson suggests that their method is a wickedly artistic one. Unlike other weapons like the bacteriological culture chosen by H. G. Wells’ anarchist in his short story of 1892, ‘The Stolen Bacillus’, dynamite is the ultimate symbolic weapon because it has popular appeal. As well as discussing the political shocks of late Victorian terrorism, Stevenson is also making a statement about popular literary form as the aesthetic value of dynamite lies, according to Zero, in its simplicity.
The United States, Fenianism was associated with more ‘lowbrow’ writing from the outset. See Martin Amis, ‘The Second Plane’, The Second Plane (London: Jonathan Cape, 2008), p. 3. United Irishman, untitled cutting, dated 1882, Chief Secretary’s Office, Dublin, B 171, National Archive, Dublin. ‘England’s Fright’, The Irish World and American Industrial Liberator, 26 January 1884, p. 5. Paul Virilio, Ground Zero, trans. Chris Turner (London: Verso, 2002); originally published as Ce qui arrive (Paris: Éditions Galilée, 2002), p.
186. Sergius Stepniak, The Career of a Nihilist (London: Walter Scott, 1901), Preface to the Second Edition, x. Stepniak, ‘Terrorism in Russia and Terrorism in Europe’, pp. 325, 330. See Stepniak, ibid. p. 325. ‘Detectives and Their Work’, All the Year Round, 25 April 1885, quoted in Melchiori, Terrorism in the Late Victorian Novel, p. 29. See Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998). Quotations from pp.
Blasted literature : Victorian political fiction and the shock of modernism by Deaglán Ó Donghaile