Saturday, August 11, 2007

I keep forgetting things. Along with Kasey's post, one of the things that got me going on this line of thought was the following quote from Jameson's afterword to the terrific Verso book Aesthetics and Politics (1977), a collection which has the salutary effect of leading one to recognize how many current arguments merely recapitulate those between Ernst Bloch/George Lukacs or Adorno/Benjamin in the context of early 20th-century modernism and the avant-garde:

For when modernism and its accompanying techniques of 'estrangement' have become the dominant style whereby the consumer is reconciled with capitalism, the habit of fragmentation itself needs to be 'estranged' and corrected by a more totalizing way viewing phenomena. In the unexpected denouement, it may be Lukacs--wrong as he was in the 1930s--who has some provisional last word for us today. Yet this particular Lukacs, if he be imaginable, would be one for whom the concept of realism has been rewritten in terms of the categories of History and Class Consciousness, in particular those of reification and totality. Unlike the more familiar concept of alienation, a process that pertains to activity and in particular to work (dissociating the worker from his labour, his product, his fellow workers and ultimately from very 'species being' itslef) reification is a a process that affects our cognitive relationship with the social totality. It is a disease of that mapping function whereby the individual subject projects and models his or her insertion into the collectivity." (212)

Many will, I'm sure, recognize how this early formulation presages his later work on postmodernism, not to mention his contentious reading of the status of the fragment in Bob Perelman, a reading which someone once dubbed (who was it?) "the primal scene of language poetry."


The link to the SPD page below was broken. It works now. And for some reason, my e-mail was not displaying in my blogger profile. But that's fixed now too, I think.


Also, how awesome is Stephen Rodefer's Four Lectures? Along with Harryette Mullen and the obvious ones like Shakespeare or Joyce, one of the best all-time punsmiths. (Sadly, I see that ECLIPSE has removed its pdf edition in advance of a reprint from Barque Press. I suspect that the availability of the former would diminish sales of the latter not at all, if it did not, in fact, increase them. What do others think?)

"Pass me a little of that petit pain."

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