Today the barriers between high and low culture have crumbled, but, as Terry Eagleton's book asks: does this mean our obsession with "culture" has overtaken everything else? Can we still be politically engaged in today's freewheeling, postmodern era? How is it possible to justify studying "Friends" when half the world's population survives on less than two dollars a day? What kind of fresh thinking does today's urgent global situation demand? Terry Eagleton's work "Literary Theory" inspired a generation and established him as one of the leading thinkers of the Left. In this book he argues that the age of "high" theory has come to a close - and looks at what ought to follow. Tracing the rise and fall of theory from the 1960s to the 1990s, Eagleton explores the cultural and political factors that brought it to birth, examining how path-breaking writers such as Barthes, Foucault, Lacan and Kristeva brought subjects like gender, power, sexuality and ethnicity out of the margins. He offers a candid assessment of the gains and losses of cultural theory, rebutting many of the standard charges against it, but claiming also that it has been silent or evasive about a whole range of vital issues. "After Theory" concludes with the dramatic suggestion that, in the face of a new global narrative of capitalism, postmodernism may now be dead. Instead, the areas that cultural theory has overlooked or denied - love, evil, death, morality, metaphysics, religion and revolution - must urgently be engaged with. As this impassioned, radical treatise on the modern age shows, they matter now more than ever.
Acclaimed literary scholar and cultural theorist Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of English Literature at Notre Dame.
Terry Eagleton is the author of many books including The Idea of Culture (2000), Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (2002), the bestselling text Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983, 1996, 2008), Trouble with Strangers: A Study of Ethics (2009), and the forthcoming On Evil (2010).