“One afternoon, a patient who had been in three times weekly ... psychotherapy ... left my office after her session, drove down to the train tracks half a mile from my office, and sat down facing an oncoming train.” This tragic event opens the essay by psychoanalyst Susanne Chassay who explores the relationship between private and political terrorism. Her viewpoint complements analyses of violence – that ‘mercurial gestalt’ – by other contributors to this collection derived from a 2003 Cultures of Violence conference held at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, organized by the Inter-disciplinary Net. From fields as diverse as philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, political science, literary criticism, and forensics, authors consider, for instance, hostility to European minorities; military training and torture; the ‘endemic violence’ aesthetically recorded by Haitian novelists; child abuse in film; female genital mutilation in fiction; or the massacre of Koreans during the 1923 Japanese earthquake. Violence in contact zones in Northern Ireland or in the memory of South African museum directors trying to comply with Truth and Reconciliation Commission mandates is also an object of scrutiny here. Finally, that vexed, primordial issue of violence – nature or nurture? – is probed.
The Case of World War I and World War II
Edited by Elena Lamberti and Vita Fortunati
The contributors to the present volume approach World War I and World War II as complex and intertwined crossroads leading to the definition of the new European (and world) reality, and deeply pervading the making of the twentieth century. These scholars belong to different yet complementary areas of research – history, literature, cinema, art history; they come from various national realities and discuss questions related to Italy, Britain, Germany, Poland, Spain, at times introducing a comparison between European and North American memories of the two World War experiences. These scholars are all guided by the same principle: to encourage the establishment of an interdisciplinary and trans-national dialogue in order to work out new approaches capable of integrating and acknowledging different or even opposing ways to perceive and interpret the same historical phenomenon. While assessing the way the memories of the two World Wars have been readjusted each time in relation to the evolving international historical setting and through various mediators of memory (cinema, literature, art and monuments), the various essays contribute to unveil a cultural panorama inhabited by contrasting memories and by divided memories not to emphasise divisions, but to acknowledge the ethical need for a truly shared act of reconciliation.
The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Producibility
Photography was invented in the mid-nineteenth century, and ever since that moment painters have been asking what they are there for. Everyone has their own strategy. Some say they do not paint what is there, but their impressions. Others paint things that are not seen in the world, and therefore cannot be photographed, because they are abstractions. Others yet exhibit urinals in art galleries. This may look like the end of art but, instead, it is the dawn of a new day, not only for painting but – this is the novelty – for every form of art, as well as for the social world in general and for industry, where repetitive tasks are left to machines and humans are required to behave like artists.