The Success and Failure of Fredric Jameson: Writing, the Sublime, and the Dialectic of Critique

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 2001 - Social Science - 182 pages
This is the first book to provide a critical overview of the work and career, as a whole, of the Marxist culture-critic Fredric Jameson, foremost among American intellectuals and a vanguard figure in the "theory movement" of the past three decades. Steven Helmling identifies major themes and traces both continuity and change in Jameson's engagement with the challenges presented by continental theory from the 1950s to the present. Instead of approaching Jameson's work by circumventing his notoriously difficult writing style, as many have chosen to do, Helmling takes at face value Jameson's insistence that the success and failure of critique are conditioned on how it is written. Jameson insists on a "dialectical prose" that not merely analyzes but enacts or performs the contradictions of its subjects, resulting in an agitating, dramatic, and compelling style that questions the very success or failure of critique itself. Style is thus regarded both as a salient feature of the writing, and as a problem for critical practice in general. Besides illuminating an oeuvre that's far from fully understood, the book makes a timely contribution to the current, "What was theory?" discussion.
 

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Contents

II
1
III
21
IV
47
V
67
VI
83
VII
103
VIII
127
IX
149
X
161
XI
177
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About the author (2001)

Steven Helmling is Professor of English at the University of Delaware, and is the author of The Esoteric Comedies of Carlyle, Newman, and Yeats.