At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, April 19, 2004


"Crackles" is another overused reviewer's word I could do without.

Eagleton, Terry. After Theory. Basic Books.

Nation: “admirable and powerful, but there are problems. For one thing, the argument isn’t coherent, but proceeds instead by zigs and zags, often little more than a grab-bag of discussions, definitions, and digressions…For another thing, Eagleton’s argument is often not much of an argument at all but rather a series of assertions that sympathetic readers are likely to agree with but that hardly stand up to the kind of rigorous analysis he himself uses so tellingly against his opponents…The big problem is that Eagleton doesn’t say the first thing about how to get from here to there, or even, except in the most tritely general way, what ‘there’ would look like.” Library Journal: “As always, Eagleton is witty and convincing…In the end, however, his study offers surprisingly little beyond standard Bush-bashing and repetitive anticapitalist rants. Alas, what could have been great cultural criticism with broad appeal falls short.” Chronicle Review: “Much of what he proposes is a correction and a supplement rather than a rethinking…intellectually impressive, but falls far short of confronting the questions cultural theory faces from within and without literary study…The most serious drawbacks of After Theory are its internal contradictions…Eagleton advocates hard thinking and a tragic, complex view of the world, but he relies on old slogans and easy dichotomies.” New Statesman: “For Eagleton, the unforgivable sin of cultural theorists is to have recognized the unreality of Marx’s revolutionary project…He rarely engages with any actual historical event, and when he does, the results are embarrassingly inept…many of his obiter dicta have no content at all…he writes in a defunct, intra-academic argot that was current a generation ago.” Booklist: “a marvel of speedway wit, vivifying thinking, and humanitarian concerns…His take on academic concerns is acute and deliciously ironic…a welcome breath of fresh air in stifling times.”
Publishers Weekly: “trenchant…brilliant and provocative…virtually every paragraph crackles with fresh and compelling insights, conveyed in a style that’s intellectually sophisticated yet lucid, funny and down to earth.”


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