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University of Birmingham

Law Lecture Theatre 3 (Room 116)

Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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Join Professor Steven Connor (University of Cambridge) to think about the nature and function of rage in modernist literature.

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Professor Connor's talk will describe the nature, mediation and effects of modernist rage, along with the role of rage in constituting modernism's sense of itself. He will be encouraged by some recent returns to the Greek faculty of thymos, as discussed in particular in Book 4 of Plato’s Republic, thymos being the passion of pride, or the vehement demand for recognition. Thymos is coming to be seen as the great neglected affect in modern social and political theory, lost in the cracks between eros and thanatos in psychoanalysis, and made unintelligible by the liberal politics of negotiated rational discontent. Where writers like Harvey Mansfield and Francis Fukuyama focus on the political force of contemporary assertions of pride and esteem-demands, Connor will try to respond to suggestions made by Peter Sloterdijk about the early twentieth-century psychopolitics of rage. He will focus in particular on the problem, around which Sloterdijk builds his 2006 book Zorn und Zeit (Rage and Time), of how to overcome the tendency of rage to discharge itself profitlessly, by capitalising it in social and political ‘rage banks’, that allow for rage to be aggregated, delegated, distributed and, most importantly, maintained over time. Reading the work of, perhaps, Lewis, Pound, Beckett and Loy, and reflecting in particular on the role of communicative media both in radiating and refrigerating rage, I will try to see if modernism may be coherently understood as a minority kind of rage cooperative.

Steven Connor is Grace 2 Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) in the University of Cambridge. His most recent books are Dream Machines (2017), The Madness of Knowledge: On Wisdom, Ignorance and Fantasies of Knowing (2019) and Giving Way: Thoughts on Unappreciated Dispositions (2019). Pretty Please: A Pragmatics of Petition is planned to appear in 2021.

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University of Birmingham

Law Lecture Theatre 3 (Room 116)

Birmingham

B15 2TT

United Kingdom

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