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Melancholic and introspective, ironical and apolitical, the urban cynic is a myth of our time. A casualty of modernization? Or a product of postmodernism? In this original and provocative book, Timothy Bewes undertakes a descent into the modern cynical consciousness, and emerges with a critical assessment of the preoccupations of contemporary society. He charts the development of a culture of cynicism within postmodernity, in forms such as an obsession with finality and integrity, a widespread retreat into introspection and inertia, and a neurotic attachment to metaphysical truth. The inflated currency of the term “cynicism” reflects a very real crisis in the constitution and practice of the political; Cynicism and Postmodernity proposes a means of negotiating this terrain with the political sensibility intact.
Immersed in the phenomena of contemporary culture, the recent history of postmodern theory, and the political and philosophical preoccupations of the modern age, this is a book for students of literature, philosophy and culture, and for all those fascinated, like the author, by the state of politics, critical thinking and the plight of the individual in society as a new century booms.
“In this brilliant and extremely readable diagnosis of our times, Timothy Bewes ranges effortlessly across the fields of literary and social theory and contemporary social and cultural criticism, relocating current controversies over politics and culture in a new and persuasive framework.”