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After Theory Paperback – November 30, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Eagleton is happy to concede that high theory has entrenched some useful if not original insights such as the ideas that human beings are about desire and fantasy as much as reason, that ordinary life is an important focus of critical attention and that seriousness and pleasure are not necessarily separate. But he also argues that it has a disabling tendency towards the valorisation of the experiences of elites and the disregard for the experiences of ordinary people. He is deeply skeptical about, say, an Indian academic moving between Oxford and Harvard who celebrates cosmopolitanism and hybridity as the vanguard of post-coloniality while saying nothing about the children sewing Nike shoes in Delhi. He is equally skeptical about academics who reject the idea of progress without rejecting dental anesthetics. And he shows that post-modern arguments are very easily deployed by overtly reactionary agendas.Read more ›
Eagleton's work--at least all that I have read--is always lucidly written and adorned with insights of wide-breadth and importance. This book is not an exception. It is, however, not a book that seems to me likely to be read for eternity.
What I enjoyed most about was its fireside wisdom quality. In a sense, this book resembles a series a letters from your mentor about academic work, its potential, failings, and excesses, and some words about his view of life in general.
Thus, the claimed philosophical importance of the work is an exaggeration attached for pushing the work forward for publishing. It is by no means a definitively new alternative course for critical theory. It is nevertheless an enjoyable book full of numerous worthwhile insights.
Of course, as with many works in both philosophy and critical theory, how this is to be practically accomplished cannot be found in these lively if self-congratulatory pages that take on the current Bush administration, the selfish and hypocritical psuedo-Christian contigent, and those pursuing profit so that, as Eagleton notes in an aside that seems to be more true each day, capitalism can appropriate our very senses. Even if this is more inspiration than information, Eagleton, by his use of examplars as disparate as George Best, Lady Macbeth, Mick Jagger, the anawim of the book of Isaiah, and especially Lear on the heath makes his points engagingly and wittily. I noticed a strong anti-Americanism permeating nearly every page, especially as the book went on, but his postscript assures readers that he only means those in charge right now, not the rest of us presumably much better educated and more sensitively altruistic!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"After Theory" is overall an excellent, genuine work of popular philosophy. The author is able to present highly complex and controversial ideas in a very accessible... Read morePublished 5 months ago by HH
''Cultural theorist' has become a new label for what used to be known as the intellectual', claims Terry. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso'
A dense yet engaging read. Eagleton's polemics are witty and imaginative and his critique of cultural theory is highly insightful.Published 9 months ago by Maintenance
As with all the Terry Eagleton books I've read, this one tackles some difficult and complex topics with refreshingly jargon-free language. Read morePublished on January 16, 2014 by K. Bunker
Being a theorist - cultural, literary, or anything else - could be intimidating if you're doing it after the impressively productive years of the `60s and `70s. Read morePublished on October 4, 2012 by A Certain Bibliophile
When I first read Eagleton's Literary Theory, I thought he was brilliant: knowledgeable and witty. This book has occasional flashes of insight, but is marred by, among other... Read morePublished on July 23, 2010 by S. A. Labbe
I suspect that the title of Terry Eagleton's After Theory is intentionally uncertain. The book is readable, interesting, insightful, just like Eagleton's numerous other... Read morePublished on February 24, 2010 by not a natural
Terry Eagleton is clearly bitter. Bitter about the status of America in the global community, bitter that his beloved Marxist dogma has been relegated to the rubbish bin of... Read morePublished on March 12, 2008 by Wolfsegg
Terry Eagleton, who introduced a generation of students to deconstructionism and postmodern theory (also called "theory"), now laments the state of the movement he once heralded. Read morePublished on June 3, 2006 by Douglas Groothuis