What Does Peace Literature Do? An Introduction to the Genre and its Criticism

Arden Henley
Friday 25 November 2022

Adolf, Antony. Peace Research 42, no. 1 / 2 (2010): 9-21.

This brief introduction to peace literature explains the main tenets and concepts used in the burgeoning field. Author Antony Adolf argues that peace literature as a genre uses the subgenre of tragicomedy to evoke empathy and combines individual, community, and social peace. Peace literature, according to Adolf, seeks not only to be nonviolent but counterviolent, implying a sense of activism which the term “nonviolent” lacks. This article is a good introduction to the peace literature genre, explaining both what it is and what it isn’t, as well as examining its historical and theoretical roots.

The explanation of peace literature will hopefully help to both understand the academic and pedagogical contexts for some of the other articles in this resource as well as give a list of criteria and theoretical points to compare other literature or narratives against. Peace literature goes beyond presenting theoretical nonviolence, which implies only the disdain for violence which most people already have, and incorporates instead the concept of counterviolence, which is much more proactive and difficult to conceptualize. The ideas and tenets behind peace literature help to differentiate the genre and its aims from narratives which do not visualize peace but rather ruminate wistfully (and arguably counterproductively) on the lack of it.

Link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/23607874.

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