1604862149 In the second issue of Arena we aim to provide general insights into the role of the anarchist in fiction, both as protagonist and author. David Weir?s essay ?Anarchist Fiction, Anarchist Sensibilities? focuses on the progenitor of anarchist fiction, William Godwin?s Caleb Williams, published in 1794, that demonstrated the pressing need for the utopian system he described in the first systematic elaboration of anarchist philosophy, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice. ?Epic Pooh? is a newly updated revision of a 1978 article by Michael Moorcock reviewing epic fantasy literature for children, particularly J.R.R. Tolkien?s The Lord of the Rings. While researching early twentieth-century French anarchist plays translated into Italian, Santo Catanuto discovered interesting information on the literary side of the Communard Louise Michel, indicating that she was the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. Stephen Schwartz, a longtime critic of the detective novel, evaluates the arc of French writer Leo Malet from anarchist to arabophobe and in ?Between Libel And Hoax,? counters Miguel Mir?s libelous depiction of the Spanish anarchist movement, Entre el roig i el negre. In his discourse on B. Traven?s The Death Ship, Ernest Larsen looks at the intractable modern problem of identity. Larsen?s short story ?Bakunin At The Beach? is about Mr. and Mrs. Bakunin holidaying at Lake Maggiore under the watchful eyes of Inspector Dupin of the Swiss Department of Justice and Police. Joseph Conrad?s short story ?An Anarchist: A Desperate Tale? is republished here from A Set of Six (1908). ?Anarchists in Fiction? is a collection of idiosyncratic reviews of books in which anarchists are portrayed as an eclectic group of villains and criminal degenerates. Finally, we conclude this second issue of Arena with an article by our cinema editor Richard Porton on Du?an Makavejev?s playful, allusive 1971 film WR: Mysteries of the Organism.
Tapping into the rich seam of anarchist and libertarian currents in noir fiction, this collection of essays explores fictional atmospheres that are dark and sinister--but not without hope. The protagonists of these works are often profoundly flawed but have something of the romantic optimist about them--men and women driven to face moral challenges and to do battle with the forces of evil or banality. Among the authors discussed are Stig Dagerman, Andre Helena, Leo Malet, George Navel, Jean-Marc Raynaud, Leda Rafanelli, B. Traven, and Simone Weil. Also included are an analysis by Agustin Guillamon of Miguel Mir's "Entre El Roig I El Negre," Massimo Ortalli's discussion of "The Regeneration of an Anarchist," and essays by Simon Watson Taylor and Stephen Schwartz on the relationship between surrealism and anarchism.