By Terry Eagleton
Terry Eagleton is without doubt one of the so much important—and such a lot radical—theorists writing at the present time. His witty and acerbic assaults on modern tradition and society are learn and loved by means of many, and his reports of literature are considered as classics of latest criticism.
Ranging around the key works of Raymond Williams, Lenin, Trostsky, Brecht, Adorno, Benjamin, Lukacs and Sartre, he develops a nuanced critique of conventional literary feedback whereas generating a compelling theoretical account of ideology.
Eagleton makes use of this attitude to supply attention-grabbing analyses of canonical writers, together with George Eliot, Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence.
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Additional resources for Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary Theory
19 Paradoxical though it may seem for this most intellectually serious and dedicated of critics, his work betrays a muted strain of anti-intellectualism which has played its role in his quarrel with Marxism - a mistaking of scientificity for positivism which links him not only with some of the most myopic aspects of Scrutiny, but also with the Romantic ‘ anti-scientism’ of Lukacs and the Frankfurt school. W riting of his admiration for the work of Lucien Goldmann, he comments revealingly: ‘ The fact that I learned simultaneously that [Goldm ann’s 17.
But the theories can hardly be abstracted from actual social situations, and the “ organic” theory has in fact been used in support of very different, and even opposing, causes. ’ (Culture and Society, P- *45-) M utations o f Critical Ideology 41 ideology by insisting on the contradictory unity of the agrarian and industrial. This is not at all the ‘ essential’ unity of an ‘ ordinary culture’ artificially disrupted by a hegemonic system; it is precisely the unity of that hegemonic mode itself, outside which nothing can escape into innocence.
24. 34 The English N ovel from Dickens to Lawrence puts this notion to superb use: the novel, for Williams, is one medium among many in which men seek to master and absorb new experience by discovering new forms and rhythms, grasping and reconstructing the stuff of social change in the living substance of perceptions and relationships. Yet the calculated tension between ‘ structure’ and ‘ feeling’ is also the m ark of a limit within his own thought. For in striving to transcend the merely empiricist or phenomenological methods of, say, Hoggart’s The Uses of Literacy, in reaching beyond a notion of icdmg'complex to kelmg-structure, he none the less lacks the theoretical terms which might specify the precise articulations of that structure.
Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary Theory by Terry Eagleton