Holy Hate and Political Organization in Johannes R. Becher’s (CHCl=CH)3As (Levisite) oder Der einzig gerechte Krieg

Jeffrey Hertel


This article explores the relationship between negative affect and political organization as portrayed in Johannes R. Becher’s critically-understudied (CHCl=CH)3As (Levisite) oder Der einzig gerechte Krieg (1926). This apocalyptic novel depicts a world wherein the only thing standing in the way of global annihilation by poison gas is a revolutionary uprising hastened along by the cultivation of negative affect. Becher’s literary deployment of hate as a tool of working-class emancipation hearkens to a genus of politically-relevant negative affect that eludes contemporary theoretical discussions of hate, where it is usually considered as it relates to right-wing extremism. Reading philosophical and literary texts from the German tradition, this study establishes a brief genealogy of progressive hate in the context of the workers’ movement between the 1840s and 1920s, arguing that the “holy hate” of the working class constitutes an affective functionalization of historical class consciousness that reached its literary apotheosis in Becher’s writing. (JH)

View Full Text

This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.

Purchase access

You may purchase access to this article. This will require you to create an account if you don't already have one.