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The First War on Terror

Novelist Hari Kunzru explores how pulp fiction writers and great novelists got to grips with the UK's first major 'war on terror' - against the Anarchists of Victorian and Edwardian times. These 'scare novels' responded to the Anarchists' wish to abolish the State by depicting outlandish scenarios such as political assassinations and large-scale bombings.

He also explores the world of the real anarchists in London's immigrant communities - most of whom were peaceful and cultured East End Jewish activists, trying to improve conditions in the garment trade - in contrast to these terrorists the novelists imagined and the popular press feared.

Bringing the programme up to date, Hari and literary scholars Laurence Davies and Deaglan O'Donghaile also briefly consider the modern response to 9/11, asking whether novels on terrorism ever get it right.

Release date:

45 minutes

Last on

Fri 28 Aug 2009 21:30

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