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In this brilliant critique, Terry Eagleton explores the origins and emergence of postmodernism, revealing its ambivalences and contradictions. Above all he speaks to a particular kind of student, or consumer, of popular "brands" of postmodern thought.
Posted September 12, 2000
Nothing Eagleton writes in this book is untrue. He offers a caveat to would-be 'postmodern' enthusiasts: Don't be seduced by the rhetoric of 'incommensurable narratives', 'alterity', or whatever. But this book should not be read as an argument against postmodern theory as such. Eagleton suggests this himself--the book treats complex issues at such a high level of generality that no theorist who usually falls under the postmodern banner would disagree with anything he says. I think the value of this book lies in Eagleton's implicit argument that one should practice a kind of intellectual integrity that is genuinely thorough and critical, exactly what store brands of postmodernism discourage. I come away from the book with a sense of responsibility to avoid being suckered into the mystifying wastelands of alterity.
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