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Farewell to Postmodernism

Social Theories of the Late Left


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 Four: Terry Eagleton: Socialism And Redemption


Chapter Four

Terry Eagleton: Socialism And Redemption

Beautiful ideal! but, alas! like all ideals, one that can only float before us, beyond the reach of man condemned to imperfection.’ Thus sighs the smug adorer of the heavenly kingdom in which – at least as far as himself is concerned – God will make good the inexplicable shortcomings of this earth and its human brood. They live and lie, they sin and suffer, in the loathliest of actual conditions … they cry down the only natural release from their bewitchment, as ‘Chimeras’ or ‘Utopias;’ just as the poor sufferers in a madhouse take their insane imaginings for truth, and truth itself for madness. If history knows an actual Utopia, a truly unattainable ideal, it is that of Christendom. . . . How does the fulfilment work out in the modern world, which calls itself, forsooth, a Christian world, and clutches to the Christian religion as its inexpugnable basis? As the arrogance of hypocrisy, as usury, as robbery of Nature’s goods, and egoistic scorn of suffering fellow-men.

(Richard Wagner, “Art and Revolution”)415

Terry Eagleton wrote his early books from a position of orthodox, or at least practicing, Catholicism. Even the very titles of these works, including The New Left Church (1966) and The Body as Language: Outline of a New Left Theology (1970), suggest the trajectory of his intellectual inquiries at the time. In short, Eagleton hoped to reconcile Marxism and Christianity. He would later break with institutional...

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