Modernism and violence—and violence in modernism—are pairings that might at first seem both familiar and fully explored. Wars and revolutions are endemic to the period, and Paul Fussell and many other critics have explored the constant specter of violence within the literature. Sarah Cole, however, shows us how much more we have to learn about how violence shapes—and is shaped by—modernist writers. At the Violet Hour is that rare critical work that brings genuinely fresh insights to even the most well-known works and topics.

The book examines violence between 1890 and 1940 across both time and conflicts, as a grim continuum that shifted both representation and language. Rather than treat World War I as the central and definitive example of violence, Cole subtly shifts the landscape, engaging with the war but putting its battles and violence into conversation with other moments both...

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