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Modernism and Hegemony

Modernism and Hegemony: A Materialist Critique of Aesthetic Agencies

Neil Larsen
Foreword by Jaime Concha
Copyright Date: 1990
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Modernism and Hegemony
    Book Description:

    A critique of high modernism from a newly formulated Marxist perspective, achieved through analyses of texts by Marx and Adorno, Manet’s paintings, and the works of several Latin American writers.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8318-5
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword From the Modernism of Adorno to the Contemporaneity of Marx
    (pp. ix-xxi)
    Jaime Concha

    Readers of the Theory and History of Literature series of the University of Minnesota Press are perhaps acquainted with Neil Larsen’s foreword to Fredric Jameson’s essays (vol. 48 of the series). There, in a lucid presentation, Larsen points out a central paradox about Jameson, author ofMarxism and FormandThe Political Unconscious:a Marxism without political practice and, as a consequence, a critical method that, because of its tendency to unify synthetically heterogeneous points of view, at times fails to criticize other methods that offer incompatible concepts of literature. Jamesonian metacommentary seems to situate itself far from real political...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. xxii-2)

    The four essays that compriseModernism and Hegemonywere either written or conceived during a period (the early 1980s) in which what some might now describe as the dissolution of high modernism was undergoing a “trickle down” into the provincial and proletarian strata of the humanities.Modernism and Hegemonycan perhaps be read symptomatically as reflecting this moment, to the degree that it posits modernism itself, at least implicitly, as a broadly ideological signifier indicating not only the literary-artistic canon but a whole array of theoretical discourses from aesthetics to philosophy, culture, and politics. Modernism’s breakup is now openly declared...

  5. Chapter 1 From Adorno to Marx: De-Aestheticizing the Modern
    (pp. 3-31)

    In an afterword to an anthology of critical exchanges between Brecht, Lukács, Bloch, Benjamin, and Adorno, Fredric Jameson argues that the continued relevance of these now-classical debates lies in an “aesthetic contradiction between ‘Realism’ and ‘Modernism’, whose navigation and renegotiation is still unavoidable for us today.”¹ Despite the changes produced within late capitalism since the formation of what is now known as Critical Theory, both modernism and realism continue to represent opposed strategies of design for an aesthetic intended to articulate the inevitable temporal bifurcations of life itself—what Jameson refers to simply as “historicity.” Whereas in the extinct epoch...

  6. Chapter 2 Modernism, Manet, and the Maximilian: Executing Negation
    (pp. 32-48)

    On 19 June 1867, Emperor Maximilian I, Napoleon III’s Hapsburg satrap in Mexico, was executed by troops of the Juarista army in the central Mexican city of Querétaro. The same date appears inscribed below the artist’s signature in the best known of various canvases depicting the event that were painted by Edouard Manet and conventionally titledThe Execution of Maximilian. The execution, about which Marx apparently never wrote but which has all the tragifarcical qualities of a page out of theEighteenth Brumaire, has over the years generated a sort of subtradition of sentimental and popular narrative, which includescorridos,...

  7. Chapter 3 Juan Rulfo: Modernism as Cultural Agency
    (pp. 49-71)

    However we receive the appearance of the “postmodern” in contemporary metropolitan literary circles, there is at least one shared premise uniting the positions of those who sympathetically proclaim this current, those who have greeted it with skeptical annoyance, and even those prescient few already announcing its decline. This is that modernism itself, whether merely transfigured or defunct, no longer inspires any doubt as to its orthodox, canonical status. The least we can say of the postmodern is that it denotes a generation of authors for whom the once controversial figures of a Joyce, a Breton, or a Faulkner have acquired...

  8. Chapter 4 Modernism as Cultura Brasileira: Eating the “Torn Halves”
    (pp. 72-98)

    Gramsci begins hisNotes on Italian Historyby advancing a theory of the state as the “historical unity of the ruling classes.” “But it would be wrong,” he continues, “to think that this unity is simply juridical and political . . . ; the fundamental historical unity, concretely, results from the organic relations between state or political society and ‘civil society.’ ”¹ On the Italian bourgeois revolution, Gramsci’s central object of theorization in theNotes, it is proposed that the “historical unity” of the Italian bourgeoisie is first realized outside the juridicalpolitical sphere through a “passive revolution,” or “war of...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 99-112)
  10. Index
    (pp. 113-127)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 128-128)