Critical Modernism. Where is Post-Modernism Going: 5th Edition of What is Post-Modernism / Edition 5

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After developing for thirty years as a movement in the arts, after being disputed and celebrated, Post-Modernism has become an integral part of the cultural landscape. In this witty overview, Charles Jencks, the first to write a book defining the subject, argues that the movement is one more reaction from within modernism critical of its shortcomings. The unintended consequences of modernisation, such as the terrorist debacle and global warming, are typical issues motivating a Critical Modern response today. In a unique analysis, using many explanatory diagrams and graphs, he reveals the evolutionary, social and economic forces of this new stage of global civilisation. Critical Modernism emerges at two levels. As an underground movement, it is the fact that many modernisms compete, quarrel and criticise each other as they seek to become dominant. Secondly, when so many of these movements follow each other today in quick succession, they may reach a ‘critical mass,’ a Modernism2, and become a conscious tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The post man still delivers" (Building Design, April 2007)

"Thirty years on from the publication of The Language of Post-Modern Architecture, its author explains why we're all modernists now." (BDonline, April 2007)

"Charles Jencks has revamped his seminal tome on postmodernism". (Icon Magazine, June 2007)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470030110
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/25/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,349,920
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 10.06 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

 Simon Jenkins, Journalist and Author: ‘After 200years of hyperactive and sometimes disastrous adolescence,Modernism finally may be growing up and coming to terms with itsown problems. In this challenging work Jencks shows why, and whatit may look like.’

 Ian Buruma, Author and Henry R Luce Professor atBard College: ‘Charles Jencks does not necessarily courtyour agreement; he wants you to think, and then think again. He isan enemy of received opinions and sloppy clichés. That is whatmakes his latest book so provocative and such a delight toread.’

 Felipe Fernandez Armesto, Professor of History, TuftsUniversity: ‘Charles Jencks never stops refreshing ourminds. Now – on a subject on which his previous work seemedinsuperable – he breaks new ground. He redefinespostmodernism’s place in modernity and, with his usual wit,clarity and fluency, he explains how and why the grandest of grandnarratives – our integrated history of the universe –survives and thrives.’

 Rem Koolhaas, Architect and Author: ‘ThatCritical Modernism is a tautology turned into an oxymoron isperhaps its greatest strength: as Jencks argues, the critical andthe modern certainly need each other.’


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Table of Contents

Preface - A refolution in five parts.


PM is Critical Modernism.

The Many Deaths of Modernism.

Two Views of Post-Modernism.

Post-modern Speaks Us.

Screams in the Cathedral.

Modernism as a Protestant Crusade.

Success Tames the Avant-garde.


Double Coding and Irony.

Not Even Pastiche.

Complexity and the Enigmatic Signifier.

Post-modern Art - Cross-coding with Content.

Irony on the Verge of Cynicism.


The Rise of the Cognitariat.

The Triumph of the Muddle Class.

The Rise of Socitalism.

Cyclical, Linear and Crystalline Time.


Destructive Modernity.

The Transnational Heterarchy.

New World Order as Heterarchy.

Being Wise before the Event.

The Post-modern States.

One Cheer for the EU.

The Search for an Effective Heterarchy.


Belief in a Universe 13.7 Billion Years Big.

Complexity as a Measure of Quality.

Two Types of Evolution.

A Cultural Drive?

The Universe Project.

A Jumping Universe.


Creative to be Critical.

A Critical Iconography.

A Critical Coding.

A Critical Spirituality?

Critical Theory Carves up Doomsday Fatigue.

Critical Modernism as a Continuous Dialectic.

The White Elephant Theory of Modernism.

The Ten-year Rule and Continuous Refolution.

Hidden Tradition or Process?

Critical Modernism - a Conscious Movement?

Notes & References.



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