Terry Eagleton [Read] Culture AUTHOR Terry Eagleton

Summary Culture AUTHOR Terry Eagleton

One of our most brilliant minds offers a sweeping intellectual history that argues for the reclamation of culture’s valueCulture is a defining aspect of what it means to be human Defining culture and pinpointing its role in our lives is not however so straightforward Terry Eagleton one of our foremost literary and cultural critics is uniuely poised to take on the challenge In this keenly analytical and acerbically funny book he explores how culture and our. Hmmm Terry Eagleton does an intense session of mental acrobatics in order to disavow all possible value to culturalidentity politics Favours a pretty dated marxism Interesting introduction to some of the key debates but deliberately broad brushstrokes leave room for a pretty crusty and unconvincing concluding argument Feels like an old man nostalgic for when he was trendy Sad

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Culture AUTHOR Terry Eagleton

Conceptualizations of it have evolved over the last two centuries from rarified sphere to humble practices and from a bulwark against industrialism’s encroaches to present day capitalism’s most profitable export Ranging over art and literature as well as philosophy and anthropology and major but somewhat unfashionable thinkers like Johann Gottfried Herder and Edmund Burke as well as T S Eliot Matthew Arnold Raymond Williams and Oscar Wilde Eagleton prov. A bit hand wavey at times and will certainly be less palatable for those not of leftistMarxist sympathies but this book is still rather good Eagleton spends a good portion of the book discussing what exactly culture is as well as some historical notions of it which is interesting regardless of one s political leanings and especially becauses it draws on thinkers from both sides of the political spectrumHe also spends a bit of time talking about popular culture and the pervasiveness of postmodern notions about Truth that is the lack of a sort of objective truth at least in realms relating to culture and aesthetics While he doesn t do much to show or prove the existence of Truth aside from some spiced up rhetoric and intuition priming examples the idea is still persuasive except perhaps to pragmatists or those not immersed in the philosophical literature This is where it gets rather interesting as one of his points although not especially clearly cached out is about how the ubiuity of culture is ultimately detrimental to the concept By allowing culture to be tagged onto just about anything eg beach culture skateboard culture etc we strip the concept of any importance Given the rich and expansive linguistic framework we have inherited I tend to side with Eagleton in believing that the ubiuity of the term culture is nothing but detrimental to the richer and important concept of cultureWhat Eagleton misses in my opinion is any sort of discussion of Plato which I take much of the literature on culture and its role to originate Given Plato s views on the necessity of a Noble Lie to help start the ideal republic as well as Eagleton s discussion of the role of myth in culture creation it is borderline indefensible to not have discussed Plato especially considering that he spends a large chunk of the book doing historical backgroundAnother uestion is why care about culture at all distinct from the comparative uestion regarding whether one culture is better or another Eagleton seems to obviously and especially considering his being a Marxist be partial to some sort of perfectionist politics rather than a liberal politics Given the DevlinHart debate in the 20th century regarding how robust a culture need be to maintain a state ie to not have the state collapse into chaos it seems to me to be worthy of discussion of why we ought to care at all why should we be partial to any culture when all it takes to maintain a political stateor so it seems to this point is a thin bond in which we simply trust that our neighbours will not assault our property or our persons

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Ides a cogent overview of culture set firmly in its historical and theoretical contexts illuminating its collusion with colonialism nationalism the decline of religion and the rise of and rule over the uncultured masses Eagleton also examines culture today lambasting the commodification and co option of a force that properly understood is a vital means for us to cultivate and enrich our social lives and can even provide the impetus to transform civil society. On the whole Terry Eagleton s Culture is a broad yet short meditation on a variety of ideas and concepts that fit under and intersect with notions and impressions of culture Therefore it is tricky to find a coherent thesis throughout Eagleton s book but as he writes in the Preface Perspicacious readers will undoubtedly detect an Irish motif running throughout the book ix This Irish motif as he describes it anchors Culture around a set of predictable suppositions but a clearer thesis may have made Eagleton s book enjoyable Chapter 3 titled The Social Unconscious is particularly interesting By suggesting that the social unconscious is one thing we mean by culture Eagleton explicitly references and subseuently uses a Freudian framework to understand the impulsive and inconsistent trends that define popular consumerist culture 50 Most of the chapter however attempts to understand culture in conjunction with Edmund Burke who as Eagleton writes Understands culture as fundamental than law or politics 65 The power that culture possesses can act in productive and destructive ways Eagleton develops this point by placing Burke in conversation with German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder TS Eliot and near the end of the chapter Raymond Williams By doing so Eagleton can address several interesting but well worn points of conversation high and low culture self actualization through culture cultural elitism and cultural production What I hope is apparent is the size and scope of Eagleton s analysis Despite the lack of an overarching thesis about culture Eagleton s uirky even frenetic analytical approach is advantageous but pleasant to read


10 thoughts on “Culture AUTHOR Terry Eagleton

  1. says:

    Hmmm Terry Eagleton does an intense session of mental acrobatics in order to disavow all possible value to culturalidentity politics Favours a pretty dated marxism Interesting introduction to some of the key debates but deliberately broad brushstrokes leave room for a pretty crusty and unconvincing concluding argument Fee

  2. says:

    Civilisation is what gives you postboxes culture is what decides what colour you paint them This was to me Eagleton's best contribution to the articulation of what culture is

  3. says:

    Terry Eagleton's latest effort comes with recommendations that include him being a good read even if you don't agree with h

  4. says:

    A bit hand wavey at times and will certainly be less palatable for those not of leftistMarxist sympathies but this book is still rather good Eagleton spends a good portion of the book discussing what exactly culture is as well as some historical notions of it which is interesting regardless of one's political leanings and especially becauses it draws on thinkers from both sides of the political spectrumHe also spends a

  5. says:

    I wrote up a detailed review on my blog here The Promise and Limitations of Culture

  6. says:

    Lucid and concise readings of Burke Swift Herder Austen Marx Wilde and TS Eliot among others The book is less focused and persuasive when Eagleton traces the long and complicated dialectic between capitalism and

  7. says:

    talks a lot about the idea of culture and spends a lot of time on Herder I am a little skeptical of German romantics it didn't end well Some interesting distinctions made between culture and civilization but it seems to spend a lot of time in the 19th century A lot of this conversation was played out in politics

  8. says:

    It's a great piece that adds to the discussion of culture and politics I felt like it gave me a lot to think about after the Trump election

  9. says:

    On the whole Terry Eagleton's Culture is a broad yet short meditation on a variety of ideas and concepts that fit under and intersect with notions and impressions of culture Therefore it is tricky to find a coheren

  10. says:

    This work contains a broad range of interesting ideas uips and references but I ultimately found it to be lacking a coherent thesis or central argumentThe most repellent aspect of the book for me was the feeling that the author was concealing his prejudicesassumptions throughout the earlier chapters I simply would have