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Abstract

In her paper "The Global Phenomenon of 'Humanizing' Terrorism in Literature and Cinema" Elaine Martin presents -- following a discussion of two early examples, Schiller's The Robbers and Heinrich von Kleist's Michael Kohlhaas (1810) -- an analysis of several contemporary works that model different ways of representing terrorism: Heinrich Böll's The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975) and its 1976 filmic adaptation by Volker Schlöndorff, Doris Lessing's The Good Terrorist (1985), Santosh Sivan's film The Terrorist (1999), and Tom Tykwer's film Heaven (2002). Edward Said provided a critique of the battle against terrorism, saying that it is selective ("we" are never terrorists; "they" always are) and that it attempts to obliterate history and temporality by isolating the enemy from time, from causality, and from prior action ("The Essential Terrorist"). Provocatively, literary texts and films about terrorism have repeatedly broken these official taboos by locating terrorist figures and terrorist acts within an interlocking grid of time, causality, and history. This is true of models as early as Schiller's 1781 The Robbers as well as many twentieth- and twenty-first-century works. This extensive temporal span is paralleled by a similarly broad geographical span, in that works on terrorism that challenge the official/governmental interpretation of the phenomenon come from virtually every continent.

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