Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Sex Drives: Fantasies of Fascism in Literary Modernism (2002) is a book written by Catherine Laura Frost.


From the publisher

Salvador Dalì'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 [ in Fascinating Fascism ]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.

First sentence

Sexualized images of fascism are commonly assumed to be the creation of postwar and postmodern culture: How could anyone who had lived through fascism have such a mistaken understanding of it? Read the first page

Key Phrases

Funeral Rites, World War, The Silence of the Sea, Aaron's Rod, Joan of Arc, The Plumed Serpent, Three Guineas, United States, New York, Third Reich, French Resistance, Blue of Noon, Collected Poems, Fritz Bosch, Marguerite Duras, Wilhelm Reich, European History, Franco-Prussian War, Hans Bellmer, Miss Cavell, Fantasia of the Unconscious, George Orwell, John Bull, Klaus Theweleit, Les Lettres

See also

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