Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Morgan Alexander Brown Reviews Terry Eagleton's Latest Book

Morgan Alexander Brown, a part-time instructor in English at Georgia Highlands College and a Ph.D. student in literary studies at Georgia State University, has published a fine review of Terry Eagleton's Latest book, Why Marx was Right. The review, which appears in Libertarian Papers, opens with this:

IN THE PREFACE TO HIS NEW BOOK, Why Marx Was Right, University of Lancaster professor of literature and literary critic Terry Eagleton sums up his latest
approach to Marxian apologetics in a bout of wishful thinking: “What if all the most familiar objections to Marx’s work are mistaken?” Selecting ten popular objections to Marxism nearly at random, Eagleton attempts to convert the unbelievers in ten separate chapters, presented “in no particular order of importance” (x). Though he aims the latter part of his argument at the egalitarian literati of postmodern academia (codename: The Jacobin Book Club), Eagleton stresses that “Marx had a passionate faith in the individual and a deep suspicion of abstract dogma” (238). With a plainness in prose that is a refreshing break from Fredric Jameson’s jargon-filled tomes, Eagleton sits down to examine the failures of socialist states, the inevitability of totalitarianism in centrally-planned economies, and the West’s rejection of Bolshevik terrorism, tackling the difficult task ahead of him with a newfound sense of Marxian individualism. Yet any reader who is even half-competent in economics will marvel at Eagleton’s failure to triumph in any one of his endeavors. What should have been a series of entertaining and challenging essays on contemporary Marxist theory collapses into a soggy and moist sentimentalism, reared upon the shakiest of romantic foundations.
I recommend this review, which, I think, is spot on.

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