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A Singular Modernity: Essay on the Ontology of the Present

A major interpretation of the concepts of modernism and modernity

The concepts of modernity and modernism are amongst the most controversial and vigorously debated in contemporary philosophy and cultural theory. In this intervention, Fredric Jameson—perhaps the most influential and persuasive theorist of postmodernity—excavates and explores these notions in a fresh and illuminating manner.

The extraordinary revival of discussions of modernity, as well as of new theories of artistic modernism, demands attention in its own right. It seems clear that the (provisional) disappearance of alternatives to capitalism plays its part in the universal attempt to revive 'modernity' as a social ideal. Yet the paradoxes of the concept illustrate its legitimate history and suggest some rules for avoiding its misuse as well.

In this major interpretation of the problematic, Jameson concludes that both concepts are tainted, but nonetheless yield clues as to the nature of the phenomena they purported to theorize. His judicious and vigilant probing of both terms—which can probably not be banished at this late date—helps us clarify our present political and artistic situations.

Reviews

  • “Fredric Jameson is America's leading Marxist critic. A prodigiously energetic thinker whose writings sweep majestically from Sophocles to science fiction ”

Blog

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    To launch Set 7 in our Radical Thinkers series, we ran a competition last week to win a copy of every available book published in the series so far.

    After a week of frenzied-question posting and a website crash in the face of Radical Thinkers popularity, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up!

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  • Radical Thinkers – Win all available titles of the entire series!

    This competiton has now ended. See the winners, and answers to the questions, here!

    The notorious Radical Thinkers competition is back, this time to celebrate the publication of Set 7. The prize: every available title in the collection! That is an entire library of radical thought from Althusser to Žižek; a total of some seventy plus books.

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  • An Introduction to Radical Thinkers Set 7

    Fortnightly from the 9th of April, 2013, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London, five engaging speakers will be introducing the thought of Ludwig Feuerbach, Simon Critchley, Max Horkheimer, Alain Badiou and Wilhelm Reich. These events will span themes from sexuality to economics, idealism to ethics, covered in the author’s books in the new set of Radical Thinkers.

    Set 7, released this month, is the latest addition to the series. These beautifully designed books have been described by Owen Hatherley as “a compendium of left-wing philosophical and political thought.”

    The following provides a brief introduction to the thinkers and offers some related preparatory materials.

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Other books by Fredric Jameson