Fredric Jameson on Christoph Henning, Philosophie nach Marx. Austerities of a German rejection of social philosophy, in the name of the Moor.
A Marx revival seems to be under way, predating the current disarray on Wall Street, even though no clear-cut political options yet seem to propose themselves. Sensible opportunists have welcomed any sign of sympathy for Marxian positions, without wanting to alienate the new converts (or returning fellow-travellers). The big ideological issues—anarchism, the party, economic planning, social classes—are still mainly avoided, on the grounds that they remind too many people of Communist propaganda. Such a reminder is unwanted, not so much because it is accompanied by the memory of deaths and violence (memory is fragile in postmodernity) as simply and less dramatically because such topics now appear boring.
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Recent films of the Soviet-trained director Aleksei Gherman read as enigmatic late-modern outcrops—or meteorites from an unimaginable future—resistant to the all-pervasive aestheticization processes of consumer capitalism.
On Re-reading Life and Fate
Against conventional comparisons with War and Peace, Fredric Jameson offers a path-breaking formal reading of Vassily Grossman’s great fiction of the Battle of Stalingrad. The war against Hitler as crucible for a new collectivity, in which freedom finds itself, or as grounds of social—and thus narrative—totality.
The Aesthetics of Singularity
Can postmodernity still define the present age, or is the concept now obsolescent? In a major retrospect and re-evaluation, Fredric Jameson reflects on the cultural logic of globalization and its temporalities. Art, cuisine and financial derivatives as one-off ideas and events; global politics and counter-possibilities as land-grabs, or occupied space.
Reflections on the occasion of the Rome Lecture and on its themes. Dialectic of the inside and the outside, the surprising role of non-knowledge in subjectivity—and new technologies and labour processes as experiential grounds for transformation in class consciousness.
In Soviet Arcadia
Fredric Jameson on Francis Spufford, Red Plenty. A documentary-cum-fable reconstructs the lost future of the Khrushchev era.
Fredric Jameson on Uwe Tellkamp, Der Turm. Reunified Germany’s best-seller from the former DDR, and the way time was lived in it.
Regieoper, or Eurotrash?
Opera has been globalized, and big-bang productions of Wagner’s music-dramas now outnumber those of all other works. How to frame an aesthetics for this cultural-historical phenomenon—allegorical ideogram strings, or Gesamtkunstwerk as vaudeville?
Marx and Montage
The author of Archaeologies of the Future unearths fragments from ‘ideological antiquity’ in Alexander Kluge’s recent film on Capital. Encounters with Eisenstein’s unrealized equivalent, seeking a cinematic transposition of the commodity fetish.
The Politics of Utopia
Between the dizzying technologies of the First World, and social disintegrations of the Third, does the concept of utopia still possess a meaning? Fredric Jameson on the resistant negations of fantasy-based systemic critique.
Fear and Loathing in Globalization
Reflections on William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition: a contemporary dialectic of style, as the Verne of cyberspace turns to the branded present and its nauseas.