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Culture and the death of God [Hardcover]

Terry Eagleton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 18.99
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Book Description

4 Feb 2014
How to live in a supposedly faithless world threatened by religious fundamentalism? Terry Eagleton, formidable thinker and renowned cultural critic, investigates in this thought-provoking book the contradictions, difficulties and significance of the modern search for a replacement for God. Engaging with a phenomenally wide range of ideas, issues and thinkers from the Enlightenment to today, Eagleton discusses the state of religion before and after 9/11, the ironies surrounding Western capitalism's part in spawning not only secularism but also fundamentalism, and the unsatisfactory surrogates for the Almighty invented in the post-Enlightenment era. The author reflects on the unique capacities of religion, the possibilities of culture and art as modern paths to salvation, the so-called war on terror's impact on atheism, and a host of other topics of concern to those who envision a future in which just and compassionate communities thrive. Lucid, stylish, and entertaining in his usual manner, Eagleton presents a brilliant survey of modern thought that also serves as a timely, urgently-needed intervention into our perilous political present.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (4 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300203993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300203998
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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).

Product Description


'Terry Eagleton brings all his forensic insights and acerbic wit, to the search for a replacement for God in critical thinking since the Enlightenment. . .Eagleton's thoughts - "one can kill for all sorts of motives, but killing on a spectacular scale is almost always the consequence of ideas" - are a joy to ponder. That and his depth of knowledge make for fascinating reading.'--Scarlett MacGwire, "Tribune Magazine"--Scarlett MacGuire"Tribune Magazine" (05/16/2014)

About the Author

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of Literature, University of Lancaster, and Excellence in English Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame. He is the author of more than 40 books on literary theory, postmodernism, politics, ideology and religion, among them Why Marx was Right and his recent book How to Read Literature, both published by Yale. He divides his time between Northern Ireland, Dublin, and the U.S..

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By D
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As always this author does not disappoint. The writing is brilliant and the analysis first rate. A wonderful book. It is worth missing breakfast for a month to buy it.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terry Eagleton book 26 Mar 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I heard about this on Radio 4 and was intrigued to read it as it is dealing with a a very current aspect of life today in most Western cultures i.e. the move away from traditional religion due to our extensive (but not universal or totally credible) scientific knowledge of the world and universe we inhabit. With a need for belief in something to make life meaningful, even bearable sometimes, other quasi spiritual belief structures have sprung up to cover the gaps in our need for a metaphysical or otherwordly element to our lives dominated almost entirely by the material and sensory ... except in our creative aspirations in art, music and so on. Although the author is a confessed atheist, he does an excellent job in a readable way, if you have some background in Western philosophers, to lay out the historical, social and cultural shape of man's thinking about a supernatural deity and the changing world we inhabit and our ever ongoing attempt to understand and grasp its essence in the hope that we are not just an 'explosive' cause and effect. I think the book can take the reader individually to almost anywhere he wants to go.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but flawed 24 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This quasi- theological tract - and you can't do God, even in 'his' demise, without some degree of theologizing - is delivered with all Terry Eagleton's customary flair and panache. It is a cerebral performance, delivered more from the altar steps than podium and with more the air of a peroration than panegyric: he would persuade us that atheism is by no means as easy as it looks, that scepticism a lot less convincing than it pretends and that the cultural substitutes for belief never quite live up to expectation, nor fill the absence felt in the divine departure lounge.

The hypocrisy of some Enlightenment philosophes, the pretensions of German Idealism, the ambiguities of Romanticism are all witheringly exposed. Yet, despite this, the `culture' of Eagleton's title remains very much an elite preoccupation - the high kulture of the aufklarer, that emanates downward, with few concessions to populism. Though he makes much of the `double truth' thesis, in which the scepticism of the educated elite should not be allowed to unsettle the superstitions of the populace, he himself never seems inclined to descend to any proper consideration of the beliefs of the `swinish rabble' (as Edmund Burke endearingly described the citizenry).

We are left very much with the impression that `culture' is about nobs and know-alls. In fact there is little to suggest the ordinary people had much religious faith, as Engels noted of the new working class: "the workers are not religious, and do not attend church". Manufacturers complained that the Friendly Societies and Craft Guilds were overwhelmingly irreligious and godless. One child factory worker said of a Sunday school lesson, "Today I have learn't I am a sinner and must go to Hell." As if life itself was not hell enough!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating! 4 Mar 2014
By Dr Dee
Why spend thousands of pounds studying theology at university when all you need to know is condensed into a couple of hundred pages in Eagleton's scintillating apology? A great book. Pulls the rug from under the liberal atheistic establishment. Remaining horsemen of the Apocalypse beware!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Over my head! 1 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Frankly I'm struggling with this book as it presupposes a pretty solid grounding in philosophy and its terminology. I guess this will be great for Philosophy graduates and afficionados. But I'm not sure sure I'll get to the end at this point but I'lll give it my best shot.
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