Postmodern Essay Published

Postmodern Essay Published-66
Two of these offer yet another of Jameson’s periodic attempts to rehabilitate the irredeemably out-of-fashion Hegel; the other two extrapolate from the problem of “finance capital” Jameson’s most jaundiced take yet on The Way We Live Now.

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But interesting as these issues are, I want to give the space remaining to the two Hegelianizing essays here, “‘End of Art’ or ‘End of History’?

And in any case, such revisionist impulses manifested themselves in Jameson’s work even before (1994), as the last word of the title hints, conjured the phenomenological thematics of temporality.

The latter book’s first and strongest chapter, the obvious program piece for the whole, is called “The Antinomies of Postmodernism,” a meditation on the contemporary (postmodern) ideology of standoff and standstill, of (Kantian) “antinomy” usurping the analytic/interpretive space where (Hegelian) “dialectic” should be.

Granted, Jameson here and elsewhere in his ’80s writing allowed himself considerable hope on the score of postmodernism, but even in the essay itself, the culminating theme of “the sublime” was inflected as much with terror as with hope.

“The sublime” was “unrepresentable,” and since we can’t understand what we can’t represent, the chronic Jamesonian burden of “Marxist hermeneutic” (“we are condemned to interpret at the same time that we feel an increasing repugnance to do so” [Jameson, delighted to hear him talking the talk of “delirium,” “euphoria,” and “intensity.” This release involved others: like dominoes, all the direr Jamesonian themes seemed to be falling, as Hegelian “time” (History, temporality, the diachronic, narrativity) yielded to the favored pomo category of “space” (the synchronic, the visual, geographies [plural], cognitive mapping).


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