Marian Eide's Terrible Beauty argues “that it is in the aesthetic response to violence that artists and their audiences join in a collective process of moral reflection” (x). She takes her inspiration from a Bosnian woman (reported on by Zainab Salbi in The Other Side of War) who insisted on the importance of wearing makeup during the siege of Sarajevo: “I put on the lipstick every time I leave [my home] because I want that sniper, before he shoots me, to know he is killing a beautiful woman” (Eide x).

According to Eide, this explanation of our collective response to violence, given in aesthetic terms, prompts us “to confront the moral questions of war” (x). Registering violence in this fashion is “poised between traumatic witness and another, darker will to destroy, mar, or harm” (xi). With this other, darker representation being its true interest, Terrible Beauty goes on to...

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