Download e-book for iPad: Dos Passos and the Fiction of Despair by Iain Colley

By Iain Colley

ISBN-10: 1349035742

ISBN-13: 9781349035748

ISBN-10: 1349035769

ISBN-13: 9781349035762

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Extra info for Dos Passos and the Fiction of Despair

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Wrong': 47 and he is genuinely shocked by the unconscious protest his mind makes in a dream in which he has assaulted an officer and broken out of jail. Fuselli obsequiously strives to make a rewarding adjustment. Impressionable and stupid, he sinks himself into the group personality, lives the lying fantasies of the anti-German propaganda movies and partly inhabits a fool's paradise of individual opportunity. "Gee", he said to himself, "this war's a lucky thing for me. C. Vicker Company's store for five years an' never got a raise.

A pioneer type, he is not squeamish, but large-scale political murder cannot be justified like the organic struggles of life. The artificial nature of army regulations is highlighted for him by the development of a feud with Anderson. who plays it all by the book others have written for him and whose quarrel is much more real to him than the conflicts of nations. Chrisfield likes to feel solidarity with his fellow men, and he likes to conduct disputes on an informal man-to-man basis; his opportunity comes during an infantry battle in which Anderson is wounded.

The army has an overriding will and purpose of its own, inflexibly unresponsive to the needs of the enlisted man. Both Chrisfield and Fuselli are failures by the army's standards, though they have no initial quarrel with it, and given more reasonable chances might even do well. Their ordeal reveals a social truth: when civil society grants exceptional powers to the military it effectively subordinates itself to the army and abolishes the reality of democratic government while hysterically flourishing the cliches of democratic theory.

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Dos Passos and the Fiction of Despair by Iain Colley


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