In this major new study, the philosopher and cultural theorist Fredric Jameson offers a new reading of Hegel’s foundational text Phenomenology of Spirit.
In contrast to those who see the Phenomenology as a closed system ending with Absolute Spirit, Jameson’s reading presents an open work in which Hegel has not yet reconstituted himself in terms of a systematic philosophy (Hegelianism) and in which the moments of the dialectic and its levels have not yet been formalized. Hegel’s text executes a dazzling variety of changes on conceptual relationships, in terms with are never allowed to freeze over and become reified in purely philosophical named concepts. The ending, on the aftermath of the French Revolution, is interpreted by Jameson, contra Fukuyama’s “end of history,” as a provisional stalemate between the political and the social, which is here extrapolated to our own time.
“Yields a series of audacious reading of a ‘non-teleological’ Hegel, throwing a distinctive light on such themes as master-slave dialectic, linguistic subjectivity, expressive production (‘the animal kingdom of spirit’), normative division in the Antigone (inaugurating chapter 6, ‘Spirit’), and the French Revolution.”
“Fredric Jameson is America’s leading Marxist critic. A prodigiously energetic thinker whose writings sweep majestically from Sophocles to science fiction.”
“Probably the most important cultural critic writing in English today … It can be truly said that nothing cultural is alien to him.”
“Jameson establishes the revisionist nature of his latest study from the very outset. For a work on a Hegel it is a conspicuously short but nonetheless fascinating work, one which encompasses all of the elliptical nuances, digressions and expansive inter-disciplinary scholarship which has characterized his past studies.”
“Variations shows how tenaciously Jameson wrestles with his angel to complicate further his relationship to Hegelian Marxism.”