Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism

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Cornell University Press, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 197 pages
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Salvador Dalí's autobiography confesses that "Hitler turned me on in the highest," while Sylvia Plath maintains that "every woman adores a Fascist." Susan Sontag's famous observation that art reveals the seamier side of fascism in bondage, discipline, and sexual deviance would certainly appear to be true in modernist and postwar literary texts. How do we account for eroticized representations of fascism in anti-fascist literature, for sexual desire that escapes the bounds of politics?Laura Frost advances a compelling reading of works by D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Jean Genet, Georges Bataille, Marguerite Duras, and Sylvia Plath, paying special attention to undercurrents of enthrallment with tyrants, uniforms, and domination. She argues that the first generation of writers raised within psychoanalytic discourse found in fascism the libidinal unconscious through which to fantasize acts—including sadomasochism and homosexuality—not permitted in a democratic conception of sexuality without power relations. By delineating democracy's investment in a sexually transgressive fascism, an investment that persists to this day, Frost demonstrates how politics enters into fantasy. This provocative and closely-argued book offers both a fresh contribution to modernist literature and a theorization of fantasy.
 

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Contents

Illustrations
2
Or Whats
21
Henry Wood Made in Germany 1914
27
The Libidinal Politics of D H Lawrences
38
The Surreal Swastikas of Georges Bataille
59
Hans Bellmer La poupee 193538
75
Propaganda and the Sexualized
80
J Robinet from Carnet de route du soldat Fritz Bosch 1915
92
Jean Genets Funeral Rites
99
John OReilly Brinner 1995
118
Marguerite Duras
120
Conclusion This Cellar of the Present
151
Works Cited
177
Index 91
196
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