I've seen lots of intruiging references to this post-modern thinker while reading film books recently. Is he worth reading, and if so, what? Are there any major points of argument anyone has with his work?
he can be a bit ponderous on the prose front, but he tends to pick very interesting subjects so this doesn't matter tooo much. am keen on-
'Fables of Aggression' on Wyndham Lewis' novels
'Postmodernism, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism'- rather dated but massively important in all sorts of ways...good on TV
'Aesthetics and Politics'- which he edited, debates between hardcore interwar Marxist types like Lukacs, Bloch, Adorno, Benjamin--especially good on the differences between the latter two on popcult
but I'm sure there are people here who know more than I do about him...?
Fables of Aggression is a fabulous little book, made me rush off to read Tarr
someone in our building threw away/left out in the lobby a copy of The Political Unconscious but it's a bit hard going
i once reviewed that fat great Postmodern or the Logic of Late Capitalism for the Observer -- was pretty impressed, if somewhat exhausted, at the time, but can't remember hardly a thing about it
there's something about the austere, august, slightly ponderous nature of his prose that seems to fit the subject/worldview -- sorta like, Reason, holding firm, in the face of an impending New Dark Age. Or something.
Thanks for that. I'm sneakily reading it betweeen windows here at work.
I have to take issue with this statement though:
an ideological (and reactionary, anti-political) film like A Clockwork Orange (1971)[/INDENT]
All Kubricks films are political and pretty much cut from the same cloth. A Clockwork Orange is one of those films where the last 10 minutes makes sense of the rest of the film (see also Once Upon A Time In America) and the "message" is pretty much the same as (of the top of my head) Paths Of Glory, Barry Lyndon, The Shining and even 2001 to some extent. But I digress...
I always use his "Periodizing the Sixties" when teaching postwar art history--he takes a slightly more accessible voice there and I think it pays off well. "Postmodernism, or..." is deservedly the most famous one, but yes, ponderous, and seems like it came out eons ago. As Mark says the essay's enough.
I admire Rosalind Krauss's riff on Jameson in "Welcome to the Cultural Revolution", and have been reading "A Singular Modernity" off and on over the summer. It's great so far, but I've been moving through it at a snail's pace, partly because I'm focused on other things, and partly because I've found ten pages are enough to spin out all sorts of extrapolations and critiques on their own--I've yet to put any of it to work though. In many ways it reads as a reconsideration of the Postmodernism book.
I'm ashamed to say that I've never given The Prison House of Language and The Political Unconscious more than wistful flips in the book store.
I am a big fan of 'Marxism and Form', his first book, written before postmodernism became a big issue in his work, but you can still see those concerns round the corner. It contains excellent analyses of Adorno, Benjamin, Sartre etc.
It is more solidly in the literary theory bracket than anything else he has written, but I highly reccomend it, particularly as it gives a political context to his later work.