A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present by Fredric Jameson

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By Fredric Jameson

A significant new interpretation of the strategies of modernism and modernity.

The suggestions of modernity and modernism are among the main arguable and vigorously debated in modern philosophy and cultural idea. during this new intervention, Fredric Jameson—perhaps the main influential and persuasive theorist of postmodernity—excavates and explores those notions in a clean and illuminating demeanour.

The amazing revival of discussions of modernity, in addition to of recent theories of creative modernism, calls for consciousness in its personal correct. it kind of feels transparent that the (provisional) disappearance of possible choices to capitalism performs its half within the common try and revive 'modernity' as a social perfect. but the paradoxes of the concept that illustrate its valid heritage and recommend a few ideas for heading off its misuse besides.

In this significant new interpretation of the not easy, Jameson concludes that either suggestions are tainted, yet still yield clues as to the character of the phenomena they alleged to theorize. His really apt and vigilant probing of either terms—which can most likely no longer be banished at this overdue date—helps us make clear our current political and creative events.

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Conducting Bodies

Uncertain precisely why this French Nobel Prize successful writer is lacking from bibliotik. this can be one in all uploads to ensure he's not overlooked.

translated from the French via Helen R. Lane

below is an l. a. occasions assessment of this edition:


Conducting our bodies through Claude Simon; translated from the French by means of Helen R. Lane (Grove: $7. ninety five, paperback; 192 pp. )
July 26, 1987|Thomas Christensen | Christensen, an editor with North aspect Press, has translated works from French and Spanish, together with Julio Cortazar's "Around the Day in 80 Worlds. "

Claude Simon's "Conducting Bodies" is an uncommonly confusing, problematic, and most likely worthwhile novel--if it's a novel at all.

The "conducting bodies" of the identify are a number of: the primary character's sick physique, for which he visits a physician; the contentious physique of delegates on the writers' convention he attends; our bodies in minutely defined clinical diagrams, newspaper ads, and creative reproductions; our bodies consuming, ingesting, dozing, jogging, sitting, or in erotic poses; celestial our bodies, comparable to the constellation Orion, whose delusion turns out to underlie the book.

But peculiarly, it's the transferring pictures and whirling sentences of the textual content to which the name refers, because the items of the impersonal narrator's concentration evolve into each other and scenes recur time and again, changed via new juxtapositions. A sentence could, for instance, start with clone of disembodied legs modeling stockings in a shop window and finish with an outline of anatomical prints in a doctor's workplace, or with similar to a meandering river that by some means becomes a snake coiled round a tree.

And so on. although much less given than fellow proponents of the ' nouveau roman,' the hot Novel, (Michel Butor, Nathalie Sarraute, Alain Robbe-Grillet) to theoretical statements, Simon did compose a quick argument in 1970, the 12 months prior to the 1st French book of "Conducting Bodies" (the booklet used to be first released in English through the Viking Press in 1974), within which he rejected such conventional novelistic matters as personality, anecdote, and plot. as a substitute, Simon assaults the very nature of the unconventional itself, and for this, he obtained the Nobel Prize in 1985.

It needs to be acknowledged that taking away lots of the parts of the normal novel fails to provide a web page turner. (At one element, I misplaced my position and had a satan of a time discovering the place I was--was it the seventh, the ninth, the thirteenth description of the plane most likely wearing the author to his convention? )

Nothing is bound in "Conducting our bodies. " i guess the aircraft is wearing the author to his convention, simply because Simon describes the individual, the aircraft, and the development. however it is left to the reader to attach them, or to depart them unconnected. This procedure exposes the stubbornness of the reader, who can hardly ever face up to creating a tale, no matter if from the exploding phrases of "Finnegans Wake" or from the cartwheeling sentences of "Conducting our bodies. " Grove Press' copywriter, for instance, slightly desperately ventures at the again conceal of the publication that "it might be actual that the tale tells of a guy traveling an American urban, who meets a married girl with young children and spends the evening along with her. "

The urge to attach Simon's photographs during the medium of a character's cognizance is so impossible to resist that we interpret the encyclopedic descriptions of jungle landscapes as reveries trigger via the writer's view from his airplane window, and we take the fragmentation of the convention delegates' speeches, including the writer's loss of participation, to signify his alienation of his rejection of the writers' platform of social engagement. although time sequencing is essentially eradicated, we feel that he phones the girl after which meets her, although not anything ideas out an inverse order. after we keep on with him as he walks during the highway, we wager that he will be assembly her--but actually he easily walks, from an unspecified departing aspect to an unknown destination.

Since Simon has mostly eradicated temporal family members, he produces a collegelike textual content that calls to brain his preliminary education as a painter, and actually the various book's photographs are drawn from artworks, whose parts appear to generate the radical. Already, in much less radical prior works--such as "The Flanders Road" and "The Palace"--Simon had confirmed himself an outstanding stylist with a different expertise for designated and infrequently compelling descriptive passages (these characteristics are the following masterfully captured by means of Helen R. Lane's delicate translation).

One of the artworks defined through Simon is a portray of Orion through Poussin, and if, rather than personality or plot, we have been to hunt a subject or a message from Simon's textual content, we would locate it during this photo, to which he devotes substantial area. Orion, the seeker of sunshine, was once the blinded hunter whose imaginative and prescient used to be restored as he confronted the emerging sunlight. yet in Poussin's portray, the big determine fades into the encompassing panorama and turns into indistinguishable from it. The promise of revelation is denied, and we discover ourselves as an alternative in an indeterminate and careworn international the place issues fade into different issues; not anything is mounted; every little thing is a undertaking physique, and it's as much as us, the readers, to shape our personal conclusions from the kaleidoscopic text.

Finally it really is within the plastic molding, shaping, and balancing of what turn into virtually summary devices of prose that the book's maximum curiosity lies, and the author's most vital success: we would regard Simon because the Piet Mondrian of the trendy novel.

How distant Simon's bold test turns out within the context of today's usually modest and standard fiction! If the recent Novel has develop into old background, it nonetheless has a lot to supply to readers and writers eager to discover various avenues and ways to fiction.

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Extra resources for A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present

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I'm not sure what that could mean in a situation in which there is no literal language and in which every possibility was always figural to begin with. Yet in fact our pessimistic third maxim does not leave us in the midst of some impenetrable Wittgensteinian silence in which nothing can any longer be said. ) of 'culture critiques' which prove to be ideological through and through and whose intents, when more closely examined, are almost always very doubtful indeed. But this does not mean that we cannot tell the narrative of modernity at all.

In what we have called the second mode of the narrative in question, namely that of the survival and persistence of :tesidual elements belonging to the older system: in this case the well-known medieval features still present in Descartes's . language: . " Here we have the most palpable example of earlier meta­ physics impeding a new beginning for metaphysical thought. A historiological report on the meaning and nature of Descartes' doctrine is forced to establish such results. 45 k is this insistence on the systemic character of the thoughts in question - the radical difference between Descartes and his theological 'predecessors', the relative continuity between the new Cartesian system and Nietzsche's apparent break -With it - that marks Heidegger as a thinker of periodization.

When this second characterization begins to break down - it is not so easy to invent plausible descriptions of the inner atmos­ phere of something so unfigurable as consciousness - then the third option is grasped for. That option involves the evocation of modernity in terms of self-consciousness or reflexivity: here then we suddenly seem to have reached a philosophically more viable concept under which both the attributes of freedom and of individu­ ality can be argued. For it is easier to say of some 'pre-modern person' that he is conscious but not self-conscious in the Western philosophical sense than to assert that he is not an individual: as for freedom, the slippage of its acceptation from a metaphysical to a social or political attribute makes its non­ ideological deployment a particularly delicate operation.

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