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"The Politics Of Amnesia" by Terry Eagleton .

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Terence Francis "Terry" Eagleton is a prominent British literary theorist, critic and public intellectual.Novelist and critic David Lodge, writing in the May 2004 New York

Review of Books on Theory and After Theory, concluded:
Some of Theory's achievements are genuine and permanent additions to knowledge, or intellectual self-knowledge. Eagleton is quite right to assert that we can never go back to a state of pre-Theory innocence about the transparency of language or the ideological neutrality of interpretation ... But like all fashions it was bound to have a limited life of novelty and vitality, and we are now living through its decadence without any clear indication of what will supersede it. Theory has, in short, become boringly predictable to many people who were once enthusiastic about it, and that After Theory is most interesting when its focus is furthest from its nominal subject is perhaps evidence that Terry Eagleton is now bored by it too. (source taken from Wikipedia)

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"The Politics Of Amnesia" by Terry Eagleton .

  1. 1. THE POLITICS OF AMNESIA -- TERRY EAGLETON Prepared by , Megha Mohan Nair
  2. 2. THEORY  Theory is an umbrella term, encompasses all the literary practice.  The literary theory is closely tied to the history of literature.  The principles and methods of literary theory apply to non-fiction , popular fiction, film ,law etc..  Broad schools of theory includes new criticism, formalism, structuralism , post structuralism , Marxism etc..
  3. 3. TERRY EAGLETON  Terence Francis Terry Eagleton is a prominent British literary theorist, critic, leftist, and intellectual.  Eagleton was born in 1943 in North West England.  During 1960s he become involved with the left-wing catholic group ‘Slant’.  He authored a number of theological articles and a book called towards a new left theory.
  4. 4. MAJOR WORKS  Literary Theory : An Introduction  After Theory  Criticism and Ideology  The Ideology of the Aesthetics (1990)  The Gate Keeper (2001) memoir  Sweet Violence (2003)
  5. 5. AFTER THEORY  It is the important work of Eagleton.  It looks back to the golden age of cultural theory.  And it look forward to the new challenges faced by contemporary cultural theory.  The Politics Of Amnesia is the beginning chapter of this book.  It is an effort to retune cultural theory to the demands of our social and political situation.
  6. 6. EAGLETON ANALYSES SOME OF THE CONCEPTS AND PRACTICES OF POST COLONIALISM AND POST MODERNISM : I. Critique of Post Colonialism II. Critique of Post Modernism
  7. 7. THE POLITICS OF AMNESIA  Eagleton describes the shift that happened in : 1. Intellectual pursuits 2. The trivialization of scholarly matters 3. A conspicuous lack of fresh thinking o Eagleton then reckons the advantages or achievement of cultural theory, they are : 1. Established gender and sexuality 2. Establish popular culture 3. Demolish the puritan dogma
  8. 8. CRITIQUE OF POST COLONIALISM  Eagleton counts post-colonial studies as the most flourishing sector of cultural studies.  Post- colonial studies deals with the dire condition of a bad conditioned world.  Post- colonial studies has been on of the most precious achievement of cultural theory.  Eagleton finds some faults with the post colonial studies: 1. Lack of historical sense. 2. The absence of memories of collective and effective political action. 3. Shift from politics to culture .
  9. 9. 1. LACK OF HISTORICAL SENSE  Eagleton finds that our generation lacks sense of the history of their nation and their politics.  The actual beneficiaries of this amnesia is those in power .  Those in power makes as think that there is no alternative to the present .  “The future would simply be the present infinitely repeated.”
  10. 10. 2. THE ABSENCE OF MEMORIES OF COLLECTIVE AND EFFECTIVE POLITICAL ACTION.  The waves of revolutionary nationalism were successful in freeing nations from the grip of colonialism.  These revolutions laid foundation of the socialist world.  But we fail to sustain it .  Eagleton reminds us that it is one thing to make a revolution and sustains it .  The new generation lacks the memory of collective political actions .
  11. 11. 3. SHIFT FROM POLITICS TO CULTURE  The third world failed in creating and sustaining socialism.  The middle class elites themselves become the rulers.  The political sovereignty never created an economic self government.  Third worldism gave way to post-colonialism.  The young post-colonial theorists were unable to recall the history of their nation.  Post-colonial thought focused on the cosmopolitan dimensions of a world .  Shifted the focus from class and nation to ethnicity or from politics to culture .
  12. 12. CRITIQUE OF POST MODERNISM  According to Eagleton, post-modernism is the contemporary movement of thought which rejects totalities, universal values, grand historical narratives, solid foundations to human existence and the possibility of objective knowledge.  Eagleton disagrees with some of the concepts and principles of post modernism: 1. Crusade against norms and authority . 2. Hostility towards a bourgeois world . 3. Problem of inclusiveness.
  13. 13. 1. CRUSADE AGAINST NORMS AND AUTHORITY  Post modernists believe that norms are inherently oppressive.  Eagleton thinks that it is a mistake to believe that norms are restrictive.  World without norms would have been a chaotic one.  Eagleton tries to prove that norms are for the well-being of the whole.  Post-modern prejudice against norms is a politically catastrophic one.
  14. 14. 2. HOSTILITY TOWARDS A BOURGEOIS WORLD  For Eagleton , modernism was fortunate in having an enemy like classical bourgeois.  But , post-modernism is not.  Post-modernism seems to behave as though the classical bourgeois is alive.  They have no belief in absolute scientific truth.
  15. 15. 3. PROBLEM OF INCLUSIVENESS  Post-modernism does not believe in individualism.  It believes in pluralism.  Then there arises the problem of inclusiveness.  For Eagleton capitalism is an inclusive creed.  Post-modernism stands with marginal and minorities.  Eagleton’s single ideal size of society is not possible.
  16. 16. CONCLUSION  The Politics Of Amnesia is a brilliant piece of writing .  It manifests Eagleton’s eloquence and witty repartee.  Playfully analyzing the shifts in the field of epistemology in the realm of cultural studies.  Eagleton chews the cud of nostalgia.  And longs for the past golden age of intellectualism.

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