"Wilson focuses each of the three large parts of this book on one of three philosophical areas central to cultural materialism: value, history, and community. He provides excellent theoretical accounts of these areas. However, what makes this book more than an introduction is the author's decision to make each of these three abstract discussions a preface to textual analysis (chiefly of texts by Shakespeare, Middleton and Rowley, and Wilde). Through his textual analysis, he concretely demonstrates many of the strengths and weaknesses of cultural materialism and also suggests the power of his own brand of cultural materialism, which is deeply infused by Foucault, Benjamin, Lacan and Bataille. The book thereby becomes, elegantly, not only a brilliant account of cultural materialism but also a major contribution to its future." (I) Choice (D)
From the Back Cover
In recent years the left has transformed traditional approaches toliterature and culture. Critical movements such as CulturalMaterialism and New Historicism have succeeded to the point wherethey now constitute the new academic order.
Scott Wilson explains and demonstrates the power of these modesof critical enquiry and explores their limitations. His bookprovides a forceful critical engagement with major figures in thefield - Francis Barker, Catherine Belsey, Jonathan Dollimore, TerryEagleton, Jonathan Goldberg, Stephen Greenblatt, Alan Sinfield -whose work represents a broad spectrum of positions from Marxism,which privileges class, to a radical criticism emphasising thepolitics of difference.
Cultural Materialism problematizes a number offundamental Marxist assumptions with recourse to the theories ofGeorges Bataille. The author also shows how cultural materialism isapplied in practice through readings of key Renaissance texts by,among others, Shakespeare and Spenser, and later work by Dollimoreand Sinfield on queer theory, particularly with regard to OscarWilde.