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Farewell to Postmodernism

Social Theories of the Late Left

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Bartosz Kuzniarz

In the late 1960s, a whole pantheon of thinkers regarding themselves as radicals stole a part of the anarchic praxis of late capitalism, turned it into philosophy, and with the resulting set of views turned against the foundations of the system in a purportedly radical gesture. Postmodernism was the name for the superficially revolutionary culture which then came into existence. The thought of the late left appears as the subsequent response to the cunning of the system.
The main figures of Farewell to Postmodernism are Perry Anderson, David Harvey, Fredric Jameson, Terry Eagleton and Slavoj Žižek. The book provides an encyclopaedic introduction to their work, while at the same time seeking to grasp the current trajectory of radical thought.
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Chapter Three: Fredric Jameson: Capital is Sexy

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Chapter Three

Fredric Jameson: Capital is Sexy

I have to be precise but I don’t know when the siege begantwo centuries ago in December September dawn yesterdaywe here are all suffering from the loss of a sense of time.

Zbigniew Herbert, “Report from a Besieged City”

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom, for tryingto change the system from within. I’m coming now, I’m comingto reward them. First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

Leonard Cohen, “First We Take Manhattan”

If anybody ever had the idea of writing a fourth volume to go with Leszek Kołakowski’s Main Currents of Marxism, the British and American thinkers mentioned in my introduction – Anderson, Harvey, Jameson and Eagleton – would certainly occupy prominent places (assuming that for somebody who never gave up hope for socialism this would represent any kind of distinction). Of this group, it is Fredric Jameson who would seem to have had the greatest influence on shaping leftist or Marxist theory. The volume of secondary literature devoted to him alone inspires respect: seven monographs – as opposed to two each for Anderson and Eagleton’s work – as well as hundreds of smaller articles.256 Anderson himself ← 111 | 112 → wrote his book on postmodernism not only under Jameson’s influence, but because of him. Writing his preface to Jameson’s The Cultural Turn in 1998, he got so carried away that his planned several dozen pages mutated into a book in its own...

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