The Years of Theory

The Years of Theory:Postwar French Thought to the Present

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Legendary lectures on the major figures of French theory from 'America’s leading Marxist critic'

Fredric Jameson’s The Years of Theory introduces the major themes of French theory, including existentialism, structuralism, poststructuralism, semiotics, feminism, psychoanalysis, and Marxism. In a series of accessible lectures, Jameson places this effervescent period of thought in the context of its most significant political conjunctures, including the Liberation of Paris, the Algerian War, the uprisings of May ‘68, and the creation of the EU.

The contentious philosophical debates of the period come to life as much through anecdotes as through extended readings of work by their participants, including Sartre, Beauvoir, Fanon, Barthes, Foucault, Althusser, Derrida, Deleuze, groups like Tel Quel and Cahiers du Cinéma, and contemporary thinkers like Rancière and Badiou. Drawing on a wide range of references and thinkers, Jameson’s seminar provides an essential account of an intellectual moment whose significance is compared to that of ancient Athenian philosophy, both situating it historically and revitalizing its central concerns for the present.


  • Jameson is one of the world’s most eminent cultural theorists, but he is also a peerless literary critic in the classical sense of the term.

    Terry Eagleton
  • Probably the most important cultural critic writing in English today. It can be truly said that nothing cultural is alien to him.

    Colin McCabe
  • The most significant Marxist thinker in American culture.

    Cornel West