Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

The Orgy of Self-Renunciation an Analysis of the Motif of War in Modern Literature

By Neumarkt, Paul | Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, August 2001 | Go to article overview

The Orgy of Self-Renunciation an Analysis of the Motif of War in Modern Literature


Neumarkt, Paul, Journal of Evolutionary Psychology


The abundance of modern literature dealing with the topic of war makes it incumbent upon the writer of this article to limit the scope of his undertaking. The innumerable angles of discussion include the religious, political, sociological, scientific, psychological and literary aspects, to name but a few. Such encyclopedic ramification of the topic in question cannot possibly be envisaged within the confines of the present analysis. Our interest will be focused on the literary as well as the psychological implications of the problem that have affected he lives of millions of people from time immemorial. Having used the term "people", however, we find ourselves in an apparent dilemma from the very start, for it would be rather presumptuous to deal with the topic of war in terms of collective experience. While the trauma of war constitutes in actuality visitations on the body of the people as a collective, it is only through the mouth of the suffering individual that such experiences are transmitted and become vociferous.

Thus, the topic under discussion constitutes an attempt at circumscribing the motivational factors that contribute to the understanding of individual reaction within a setting of violence and upheaval such as war. The question whether the orgy of self-renunciation transcends the limited scope of the individuals discussed in this paper may be answered in the affirmative. The dark, or psychological side of each person is not only his shadow but that of the entire human race which assumes individual form in him. Erich Neumann states: "My shadow is part and exponent of the shadow of mankind in general...and as I accept it myself. I accept with it also that part of mankind that is in terms of my shadow my `next'." (1) It is therefore the aim of this paper to search the human psyche and elucidate its traumata in actual combat situation.

Three works have been singled out to depict the topic of self-renunciation or self--abandonment on the part of the individual facing his hour of destiny. In order to widen the scope of this analysis somewhat, and to allow for a more generous discussion, the three representatives in question have been chosen from English, French and German literatures respectively. The reason for this choice lies not only in the fact that each of the dramatis personae carries with him the syndrome of his very own psychic disposition, but as representatives of their different backgrounds and cultures they are simultaneously also members of the human family at large. Thus, the elements of separation prevalent in and characteristic of the setting of the setting of war are the selfsame elements that unite them as well. The works under discussion here are: Richard Aldington's Roads to Glory; Victor Hugo's Quatrevingt-treize, and Heinrich Boll's Wo warst Du Adam? In all three works our attention will be focused on the differences that separate the individual participants in their respective rationalization of self-renunciation, as well as on the factors they have in common beyond their ethnic separation. I do not purport to furnish an answer to the problem of war on the basis of the forthcoming analysis. I am dealing merely with the phenomelogical aspect as reflected in the individual psyche rather than with conjectures of a philosophical nature. The prospects for the immediate future do not give rise to optimism. The old Roman slogan: "si vis pacem, para bellum" (if you desire peace, prepare for war), is still as deceptively actual today as it has ever been. In his remarkable contribution The Betrayal of the Intellectuals, Julien Benda concludes that man's grandiose

control over matter must consequently lead to mankind's consciousness of its power. The implication is in no way cryptic, and Benda's statement: "history will smile to think that this is the species for which Socrates and Jesus Christ died," (2) does not allow for too complacent an outlook into the future.

PROFANE AND SACRED TIME

For the sake of understanding the extraordinary circumstances prevailing on the battle--field, it is apt to introduce two terms that have a bearing on the individual in peace as well as war.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Orgy of Self-Renunciation an Analysis of the Motif of War in Modern Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.