Unspeakable: Literature and Terrorism from the Gunpowder Plot to 9/11


Product Details

Publish Date
6.0 X 8.8 X 0.5 inches | 0.61 pounds

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About the Author

Peter C. Herman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University.


"Peter Herman's expansive study causes us to question and reconsider what we think we know about terrorism and about those who engage in such acts. The range of the text - from the Gunpowder Plot to 9/11 - highlights the paradoxical impulses (to speak and not to speak) at the heart of any narrative about terrorism."

- Tim Gauthier, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

"This is a must-read book for anybody interested in the cultural interpretation of terrorism. By zooming in on the speakability/unspeakability paradox, characteristic of acts of terrorism, Peter Herman succeeds in revealing how literature and film create a counter-narrative that undoes simplistic ideological interpretations of political violence. His readings demonstrate how the possible worlds of fiction and film create a triangulating discourse that runs counter to the reductive us-versus-them rhetoric, current in journalistic and political interpretations of terrorist events."

-Professor emeritus Kristiaan Versluys, Ghent University, Belgium

"For Herman writers of fiction 'have always offered us the tools for a better understanding of terrorism. We just need to pay attention.' This scholarly, insightful, and illuminating book gives these writers their due attention, and it also shows how the one-dimensional representations it critiques have too often obscured our historical understanding of terrorism, and too often left us dangerously blind in one eye."

- Matthew Carr, Infernal Machine