The Left Hemisphere: Mapping Critical Theory by Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan

By Gregory Elliott, Razmig Keucheyan

Because the main issue of capitalism unfolds, the desire for choices is felt ever more intensely. The fight among radical movements and the forces of response will be cruel. a vital battlefield, where the final result of the concern will partly be decided, is that of theory. Over the final twenty-five years, radical intellectuals the world over have produced vital and cutting edge ideas.

The endeavour to rework the world without falling into the catastrophic traps of the previous has been a typical element uniting those new approaches. This ebook – geared toward either the general reader and the professional – deals the first international cartography of the expanding intellectual box of severe contemporary thought. greater than thirty authors and intellectual currents of each continent are offered in a transparent and succinct manner. A background of serious thought in the 20th and twenty-first centuries is additionally supplied, assisting situate current thinkers in a broader old and sociological standpoint.

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Sample text

Like many campus novels, Small World is notably short on non-academic characters, beyond the odd taxi driver or exotic dancer; and it is exceptionally short on non-academic readers. In this 32 Contemporary Fiction and Uses of Theory context the subtitle of Philip Swallow’s book on Hazlitt sheds valuable light on the novel’s problematic limitations. Greeted by the novel’s theorists as a laughably unfashionable piece of anti-theoretical polemic, Hazlitt and the Amateur Reader is Swallow’s elegy for the fate of the nonspecialist reader who has been disenfranchised from literary debate by the hyper-specialized language of theory.

But it is only when Robyn leaves England to jet off with Vic to a trade fair in Frankfurt that we are granted a vision of England as a unified cultural space rather than a collection of disconnected localities. This passage, which gestures towards a famous scene in Waugh’s Vile Bodies where two airborne socialites gaze nauseously down at English suburbia, provides an excellent illustration of what might be called From Structuralism to Dialogics 35 the ‘England-from-a-plane’ chronotope: Robyn looked out of the window as England slid slowly by beneath them: cities and towns, their street plans like printed circuits, scattered over a mosaic of tiny fields, connected by the thin wires of railways and motorways … Factories, shops, offices, schools, beginning the working day.

The ‘Back to Basics’ loyalists automatically assume that it’s a timeless canonical masterpiece under threat from resentful multiculturalists; whereas in the ranks of the ‘Forward into Instability Group’, it is variously supposed to be a working-class text, a gay text, a black text, a subaltern text or a woman’s text. Everyone is eager to champion the Text in the name of their cause, but with the exception of Jane Marple, the culture warriors are conspicuously reluctant to read it – though a number of them piously intone Paul de Man’s dictum that ‘the resistance to theory is in fact a resistance to reading’ (24, 115, 179).

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