The Illusions of Postmodernism by Terry EagletonEagleton is normally an interesting scholar but in this case, he ultimately fails. His goal appears to be twofold: 1) to undercut all notions of the postmodern as foolish and/or untenable and 2) to promote Marxism as a superior viewpoint. 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 anything or anyone specific as making any of the arguments he rejects, favoring straw-men. Postmoderists say this and Postmodernists say that.
While arguments against postmodernism can be made (as against any other ethos), Eagletons comes off as lazy and suffers from his apparent unwillingness to address any real postmodernists, preferring an invented, hyperbolic one.
Modernism - ???????? - M.A English Literature
Capitalism, Modernism and Postmodernism
Bertolt Brecht, in conversation with Walter Benjamin, referred to fascism as the 'new ice age'. The icy language of metaphysics, which includes the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, produces a picture which 'held us captive'. Who is held captive here? Does Wittgenstein make reparation in the Inuestigations for the metaphysics, including the Tractatu. Who is this fly imprisoned in a fly-bottle, and how is he to be let out? In his article 'Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism' New Left Reaiew r46 , Fredric Jameson irgues that pastiche, rather than parody, is the appropriate modJof postmodernist culture.
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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. It is impossible to discern in such forms, as it is in the artefacts of modernism proper, a wry, anguished or derisive awareness of the normative traditional humanism they deface. Postmodernism is thus a grisly parody of socialist utopia, having abolished all alienation at a stroke.
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Berman, Marshall. All That is Solid Melts into Air. The Experience of Modernity. London: Verso, Brooker, Peter, ed. Longman Critical Readers.