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Start your review of The Illusions of Postmodernism Write a review Jan 02, Yonina Hoffman rated it really liked it I love Eagleton, though at times here he is somewhat less than careful. He straw-mans the versions of postmodernism he attacks, and requires an unfair consistency among the multiplicity of texts that collectively represent postmodern theory.
Still, on the whole he is right about postmodern theory and its problems, and I was especially influenced by his discussion of political ideology as connected to pomotheory.
Spot on. His key idea seems to revolve around a belief that postmodernism is overly nihilistic and its adherents are pessimists who overlook the obvious. In attempting to pull off his argument Eagleton often reduces arguments to an oversimplification, rarely citing Eagleton is normally an interesting scholar but in this case, he ultimately fails.
In attempting to pull off his argument Eagleton often reduces arguments to an oversimplification, rarely citing anything or anyone specific as making any of the arguments he rejects, favoring straw-men.
It probably should be stressed that a general knowledge of philosophy, postmodern Professor Eagleton takes no prisoners in this thorough albeit short critique on the theories of postmodernism. It probably should be stressed that a general knowledge of philosophy, postmodern theory and political science would be advantageous before cracking this text, however, someone with only a slight awareness of these subjects could push through the book dictionary in hand without too much difficulty.
By definition, post modernism is hard to define, as it claims no foundational tenets: it is more a method or perspective against established ideas in philosophy. As Eagleton writes, "It is animated by the critical spirit, and rarely brings to bear upon its own propositions.
I would characterize it as a cynical "anti" position on just about any idea that claims validity or application in society. The key principles of all postmodern theories include: " There is a certain feeling of excitement and freedom after reading such postmodern luminaries as Derrida, Lyotard or Kristiva, but after wading through their dense and at times "cult-like" prose, one is left with the feeling of utter nihilism, realising that these theories are empty rhetoric, that over three thousand years of human progress was all a lie, a "grand-narrative" to keep us chained.
As a Christian, I was able to look at the arguments from a third point of view and had a running dialog with the author, wishing I could interject another, I my mind, better point of view. He concludes that postmodern end-of-history thinking gives us no future other than the present. That there are many possible futures, including fascism: how would postmodern theory shape to such a future?
In my opinion, not too well. This book is a valid discussion and a persuasive argument on the many pitfalls of postmodern theory.
Capitalism, Modernism and Postmodernism
What is parodied by postmodernist culture, with its dissolution of art into the prevailing forms of commodity production, is nothing less than the revolutionary art of the twentieth-century avant garde. It is as though postmodernism represents the cynical belated revenge wreaked by bourgeois culture upon its revolutionary antagonists, whose utopian desire for a fusion of art and social praxis is seized, distorted and jeeringly turned back upon them as dystopian reality. I say it is as though postmodernism effects such a parody, because Jameson is surely right to claim that in reality it is blankly innocent of any such devious satirical impulse, and is entirely devoid of the kind of historical memory which might make such a disfiguring self-conscious. To place a pile of bricks in the Tate Gallery once might be considered ironic; to repeat the gesture endlessly is sheer carelessness of any such ironic intention, as its shock value is inexorably drained away to leave nothing beyond brute fact. The depthless, styleless, dehistoricized, decathected surfaces of postmodernist culture are not meant to signify an alienation, for the very concept of alienation must secretly posit a dream of authenticity which postmodernism finds quite unintelligible.
The Illusions of Postmodernism