The Politics of Cruelty: An Essay on the Literature of Political Imprisonment

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1995 - Political Science - 335 pages
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From one of the most influential figures of the last twenty years--the author of Sexual Politics--comes this brilliant work in which Kate Millet sets out a new theory of politics for our time, a harrowing view of the modern state based on the practice of torture as a method of rule, as conscious policy. It is, in the words of the noted Iraqi dissident Kanan Makiya, "a passionate, heroic effort to fathom the nature of a phenomenon that all too often drains us emotionally and incapacitates us intellectually."

Millett analyzes the individual's monumental fear of the state through the rich literature of its expression--a mixture of literary text (Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Mathabane's Kaffir Boy, Bharadwaj's film Closet Land), the reports of witnesses, legal theory, and historical account. The literary version of their experience is the most arresting; it prevails and persuades with the greatest effect: the reality of the victim, the social and psychological climate of life under dictatorship, the moment of capture when one is "disappeared," that pivotal electronic second after which nothing is ever the same.

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THE POLITICS OF CRUELTY: An Essay on the Literature of Political Imprisionment

User Review  - Kirkus

The legal and routine torture of criminals was abolished in the 19th century, Millett (The Loony-Bin Trip, 1990, etc.) maintains; but torture made a comeback in the 20th century against political ... Read full review

The politics of cruelty: an essay on the literature of political imprisonment

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Millett ( Sexual Politics , LJ 8/70; The Loony-Bin , LJ 4/1/90) has written an important book on incarceration and torture. Using literature, film, and photographs, she discusses the various aspects ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Among Kate Millett's other books are Flying Sita, The Basement, and The Loony Bin Trip. Millett is a founder of the Women's Art Colony in Poughkeepsie, New York. She also lives in New York City.

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