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Terror is on the Agenda (All’ordine del giorno il terrore)

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Original Language: Italian | 224 pp. | August 2018

2 Seas Represents: Dutch rights.

English sample available.

ESSAY

It is impossible to give a universally accepted definition of terrorism because no-one has ever claimed to be a terrorist and terrorism is always the action of “others”. While it may be impossible to determine what terrorism is, we are all too familiar with what terror is: it is fleeing terror that determines our politics and democracy. Terrorism stems from terror in the form of mythology, mythology that “consecrates” itself.

Daniele Giglioli sets out to deconsecrate this mythology, bringing terrorism back within the realms of experience: our experience of the violence of others. Literature – which Giglioli evokes in an almost dazzling repertoire that ricochets from the Marquis de Sade to Don DeLillo, from Alessandro Manzoni to J.G. Ballard, from Friedrich von Schiller to Philip Roth, from Fëdor Dostoevskij to Salman Rushdie – has this function: it does not explain and it does not reveal, but it makes it possible to delve into otherwise inconceivable experiences. Through these authors, Daniele Giglioli deconstructs the most powerful narrative machine of our time, showing how its smoke and mirrors hide the impotence of the modern individual, the fragility of social links, and the exclusion of the individual from the public sphere. The terrorist is one of us: a spectator, excluded. This almost makes them a killer by chance, the outcast Oswald in Libra by Don DeLillo, finally framed by the camera at the moment of death: “Taken to heaven, not surrounded by media glory, his fifteen minutes of fame will last forever.”

All’ordine del giorno il terrore provides valuable and necessary theoretical tools to deconsecrate the thinking on all forms of terrorism, past and present.

Daniele Giglioli (Rome, 1968). He teaches Comparative Literature at the University of Bergamo. His publications include: All’ordine del giorno è il terrore (Il Saggiatore, 2018), Stato di minorità (Laterza, 2015), Critica della vittima (nottetempo, 2014), Senza trauma (Quodlibet, 2011), Il pedagogo e il libertino (Bergamo University Press, 2002)and Tema (La nuova Italia, 2001). He also writes for ‘Il Corriere della Sera’ and ‘Neue Zürcher Zeitung’.