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Poetry, terrorism, and the uncanny : “Timothy McVeigh’s ‘invictus’”

McCooey, David 2012, Poetry, terrorism, and the uncanny : “Timothy McVeigh’s ‘invictus’”, Criticism, vol. 54, no. 4, pp. 485-505.

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Title Poetry, terrorism, and the uncanny : “Timothy McVeigh’s ‘invictus’”
Author(s) McCooey, David
Journal name Criticism
Volume number 54
Issue number 4
Start page 485
End page 505
Total pages 21
Publisher Wayne State University Press
Place of publication Detroit, Mich.
Publication date 2012
ISSN 0011-1589
1536-0342
Summary While Timothy McVeigh—the Oklahoma City Bomber—made no verbal statement before being executed in 2001, he did offer as his ‘final written statement’ a poem (without attribution): W.E. Henley’s ‘Invictus’. This paper offers a reading of this text as ‘Timothy McVeigh’s “Invictus”’, a limit case for our understanding of poetry, quotation, and the relationship between literary and non-literary discourses. The paper will demonstrate how McVeigh’s enigmatic act of appropriation produces a poetry of the uncanny, so that categories such as ‘poet’ and ‘terrorist’ become disquietingly porous. It will also demonstrate how ‘Timothy McVeigh’s “Invictus”’ offers unexpected insights into some basic concerns of contemporary literary theory, especially with regard to quotation, obscurity, and poetic address. Lastly, it will show how ‘Timothy McVeigh’s “Invictus”’ illustrates the unpredictable ways that a supposedly marginal cultural practice—poetry—can act in times of crisis.
Language eng
Field of Research 200506 North American Literature
200525 Literary Theory
Socio Economic Objective 950203 Languages and Literature
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, Wayne State University Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30049984

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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Created: Wed, 19 Dec 2012, 19:52:46 EST by David Mc Cooey

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.