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Towards the absurd

3 The twentieth century: towards the absurd ‘. . . Why do you sigh in this beastly way, somebody? Absurd? Well, absurd. Good Lord! mustn’t a man ever – . . .’ ‘Absurd!’ he cried. ‘This is the worst of trying to tell. . . . And you say, Absurd! Absurd be – exploded! Absurd! My dear boys, what can you expect from a man who out of sheer nervousness had just flung overboard a new pair of shoes!’ (Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 1899/1902) Twenty years ago there were swarms of manifestos. Those authoritarian documents rehabilitated art, abolished punctuation

in The absurd in literature

CH APTER 6 Into the twentieth century Collective security is the only security. (George Peabody Gooch, 19351) The twentieth century was profoundly shaped by the experience of world wars, and it was in coming to terms with arms races, economic crises, aggressive nationalism and totalitarianism that liberal intellectuals, particularly in the Anglo-American world, most vigorously and successfully promoted the ideas and ideals of internationalism. The League of Nations and the United Nations can be seen as the blossoming fruits as well as the sad failures of this

in British liberal internationalism, 1880–1930
Mussolini, Parvus, and co.

chapter 6 Flawed early twentieth-century radicals: Mussolini, Parvus, and co. There were glaring flaws, continuities, and ideological muddles in the case of the most infamous of renegades, Benito Mussolini. Here is a striking case of a deeply flawed radical for whom an experience of defeat – in the form of the failure of socialists and the working class to prevent the First World War – was arguably necessary, but not sufficient, for him to shift from international socialism to national fascism. Countless others, needless to say, did not respond to the

in The politics of betrayal

8 Earning a living in the twentieth century The quality of life for entrepreneurs and employees resident in Gibraltar, and of their families, depended considerably on their energies and enterprise; but it is a similar platitude to acknowledge that a great deal also depended on context. Men, and women (to adapt Marx), make their own history, but not in circumstances of their own choosing.1 It was therefore fortunate that in the nineteenth century, as has been shown, the circumstances in which people in Gibraltar found themselves were eventually conducive to an

in Community and identity

My aim in this chapter is to explore some issues concerning social memory, commemoration, and the social construction of contemporary identities in the urban arena. By examining the production and iconography of two exhibitionary events in twentieth-century Seville, I want to illuminate the complex connections between debates about the location of Spanish culture, definitions of ‘Spanishness’ and the recasting of the legacy of Spanish imperialism. As a key site within Spanish national mythology and imperial

in Imperial cities
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Heroism, masculinity and violence in Vietnam War narratives

doing, they feel themselves to be cowards, not quite ‘men’ enough to be soldiers. But in the air, where they have the unique power of skilled flight, they know that the adrenaline rush of battle will give them the courage they need to face the danger. It is a paradox that is repeated in countless war memoirs and other writings of the twentieth century and beyond. Soldiers continually try to find ways to articulate both the fear and the power of the combat experience. The need to be a ‘man’, to exhibit the Angela K. Smith 175 characteristics of a traditional heroism

in Gender and warfare in the twentieth century
The Spanish Civil War in Ken Loach’s Land and Freedom

better understood in Europe, so when Loach went to Madrid to promote Land and Freedom in April 199 c he was obliged to be more explicit than in his British interviews. El Pals described him as ‘a former Trotskyist activist’ (antiguo activista trotskista), and he is quoted as saying I think it is very difficult to understand the politics of the twentieth century without understanding what Trotsky’s contribution has been. Our Spanish comrades in the POUM wanted to detach themselves from Trotsky. I think it would have been impossible to complete this film without

in Gender and warfare in the twentieth century
Clemence Dane and Virginia Woolf

, looting, and an orgy of hatred.40 Clothes and uniform, the stock-in-trade of performance, are central to the theatre of fascism, and Dane’s insight into the dressing rooms of 1930s’ fascism is confirmed by subsequent historians. It was no accident that the birthplace of twentieth-century fascism was in the land of opera. Fascist black made its first appearance on the glamorous backs of the Arditi, a volunteer force of elite shock troops in the Italian Army during the Great War. This is the black of the courageous warrior boldly facing and even announcing his own death

in Gender and warfare in the twentieth century
Creating the Gibraltarian

7 Demography and the alien in the twentieth century: creating the Gibraltarian By the end of the nineteenth century the great majority of the civilians living in Gibraltar had, legally, a secure right of residence. In most cases this was based upon laws which applied pretty much in all parts of the British Empire, of which, of course, Gibraltar with its British army garrison and Royal Navy base seemed securely and permanently a part. Through the principle of jus soli the nativeborn had acquired by birth an apparently robust entitlement, and that privilege was

in Community and identity
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WORKING CLASS PRINT.indd 1 03/05/2012 10:31 2 The working class in mid-twentieth-century England ran a small business in the centre of town, said: ‘I fail to see why they should demolish these sorts of places . . . to build a car park.’5 The vociferousness of working class complainants was particularly marked, as Box recorded: Working class people who don’t like being turned out of their houses to move into ones further out of town, and who object to high rents [are] very apt to make very long speeches about this. . . . Noticed a much bigger difference between

in The working class in mid-twentieth-century England