Archive for the ‘Terry Eagleton’ Category

Saturday, September 18 7:30 PM (7:00 PM doors)
Tickets are available for £10.00-£15.00 through Ticketweb.

Terry Eagleton is the 2010 Richard Price Memorial Lecturer. He will speak on The New Atheism and the War on Terror.

His latest book is The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue, with Matthew Beaumont, co-editor of Restless Cities.

Eagleton occupies a unique position in the English-speaking world today. He is not only a productive literary theorist, but also a novelist and playwright. He remains a committed socialist deeply hostile to the zeitgeist. Over the last forty years his public interventions have enlivened an otherwise bland and conformist culture. His pen, as many colleagues in the academy—including Harold Bloom, Gayatri Spivak and Homi Bhabha—have learnt, is merciless and unsparing. As a critic Eagleton has not shied away from confronting the high priests of native conformity as highlighted by his coruscating polemic against Martin Amis on the issue of civil liberties and religion.

This comprehensive volume of interviews covers both his life and the development of his thought and politics. Lively and insightful, they will appeal not only to those with an interest in Eagleton himself, but to all those interested in the evolution of radical politics, modernism, cultural theory, the history of ideas, sociology, semantic inquiry and the state of Marxist theory.

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Terry Eagleton writes about football as the new opium of the people for the Guardian:

Modern societies deny men and women the experience of solidarity, which football provides to the point of collective delirium. Most car mechanics and shop assistants feel shut out by high culture; but once a week they bear witness to displays of sublime artistry by men for whom the word genius is sometimes no mere hype. Like a jazz band or drama company, football blends dazzling individual talent with selfless teamwork, thus solving a problem over which sociologists have long agonised. Co-operation and competition are cunningly balanced. Blind loyalty and internecine rivalry gratify some of our most powerful evolutionary instincts.

Read the full article here.

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of English Literature at the University of Lancaster. His other publications include Walter Benjamin, Literary Theory: An Introduction, The Function of Criticism, Criticism and Ideology, The Illusions of Postmodernism, Figures of Dissent and Ideology: An Introduction. He is also a dramatist, and his plays have been collected in Saint Oscar and Other Plays; in addition, he has written the filmscript for Wittgenstein and the novel Saints and Scholars. His most recent book is The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue, with Matthew Beaumont.

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Times Higher Education makes Terry Eagleton and Matthew Beaumont‘s The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue their Book of the Week,with a review by Willy Maley:

Eagleton is a “player” in every sense, and The Task of the Critic shows him as an eagle-eyed trickster. Prolific and profound, the last of a generation, this egalitarian terrier is still chewing at the leash. After a lifetime of commitment he remains a live wire, the most readable literary critic we have: one whose task is never done, his playfulness and stylistic verve masking consider­able theoretical sophistication.

Read the full article here.

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Slavoj Zizek writes on St Paul for the New Statesman’s God issue:

Why is theology emerging again as a point of reference for radical politics? It is emerging not in order to supply a divine “big other”, guaranteeing the final success of our endeavours, but, on the contrary, as a token of our radical freedom, with no big other to rely on. Fyodor Dostoevsky was aware of how God gives us freedom and responsibility – he is not a benevolent master steering us to safety, but one who reminds us that we are wholly unto ourselves.

Read the full article here.

Terry Eagleton on the nature of evil:

Fifteen years ago, two ten-year-old boys tortured and killed a toddler, James Bulger, in the north of England. There was an outcry of public horror, though why the public found this particular murder especially shocking is not entirely clear. Children, after all, are only semi-socialised creatures who can be expected to behave pretty savagely from time to time. If Freud is to be credited, they have a weaker superego or moral sense than their elders. In this sense, it is surprising that such grisly events do not occur more often.

Read the full article here.

Slavoj Zizek’s latest book is First as Tragedy, Then as Farce His new book, due out in June 2010, is Living in the End Times.

Terry Eagleton’s latest book is Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue. He is also the introducer to the Revolutions edition of the Gospels.

Other recent Verso titles on the religion and politics:

The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For by Slavoj Zizek.

Atheism in Christianity by Ernst Bloch.

The Threat to Reason: How the Enlightenment was Hijacked and How We Can Reclaim It by Dan Hind.

The Invention of the Jewish People by Shlomo Sand.

Suffering as Identity: The Jewish Paradigm by Esther Benbassa.

Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden edited by Bruce Lawrence.

Islams and Modernities by Aziz al-Azmeh.

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity by Tariq Ali.

Muhammad by Eliot Weinberger.


Fanaticism: On the Uses of An Idea by Alberto Toscano.

Wu Ming Presents: Sermon to the Princes by Thomas Muntzer.

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Jonathan Derbyshire interviews Terry Eagleton for the New Statesman Books Interview:

Two years ago, you had a very public disagreement with Hitchens’s close friend Martin Amis.
For a long time, they were quite divergent politically: Hitchens was still some kind of socialist and Amis was vehemently anti-communist in an uninteresting, cold war kind of way. But they’ve since converged. And now they’re old cronies backing each other up – instant responses to attacks on the other.

I’m interested in the way a whole stratum of the liberal literati (Rushdie, to some extent Ian McEwan, A C Grayling, obviously Amis and Hitchens) – the very people you’d have expected to be guardians of the liberal flame of tolerance and understanding – have, at the very first assault, rushed into these caricatured postures driven by panic. I’m very struck by how those who are making ugly, illiberal, supremacist noises about the superiority of the west are precisely the sort of literary and liberal characters from whom you’d expect more imagination, openness and sensitivity.

Your book Literary Theory (1983) has sold almost a million copies. Do you enjoy writing for lay audiences?
I enjoy popularisation and I think I’m reasonably good at it. I also think it’s a duty. It’s just so pedagogically stupid to forget how difficult one found these ideas oneself to begin with. And I think it’s dismaying how small a patch there is for public intellectuals – particularly public intellectuals of the left. I value journalistic platforms as a way of extending beyond academia. You’ve got to have a sense of different audiences. I’m a kind of performer manqué – I come from a long line of failed actors!

Read the full interview here.

The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue , a book of interviews with Matthew Beaumont.

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Carl Packman explores Slavoj Žižek’s theological atheism for The Philosophers’ Magazine:

The beauty of Žižek’s theological atheism is that it accepts the limits of knowledge (even scientific) regarding material reality, but also views in the legacy of Judeo-Christianity room for an atheism that isn’t just based on simple caricatures. There is substance to the notion of Holy Spirit that is born out of a gap in knowledge and the human referent of divine impotence that binds a community together, precisely the project of Saint Paul. For Žižek this version of atheism is the very supplement necessary to save modern Christianity from doom.

Read the full article here.

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In addition to the books quoted in the article, The Tickish Subject, and The Sublime Subject of Ideology, his recent works include First as Tragedy, Than as Farce and In Defense of Lost Causes. His new book, Living in the End Times, will be published by Verso in May 2010.

Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow at the University of Manchester. His books include The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue, Walter Benjamin, Literary Theory: An Introduction, The Function of Criticism, Criticism and Ideology, The Illusions of Postmodernism, Figures of Dissent and Ideology: An Introduction.

Alain Badiou teaches philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure and the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. He has published numerous novels, plays and philosophical works. His four most recent books, The Meaning of Sarkozy, Ethics, Metapolitics and Polemics are available from Verso. His new book, The Communist Hypothesis, will be published by Verso in June.

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A useful resource on the furore over Terry Eagleton’s comments on Martin Amis’s political views in 2007.

In an essay entitled The Age of Horrorism published in September 2006, the novelist Martin Amis advocated a deliberate programme of harassing the Muslim community in Britain. “The Muslim community,” he wrote, “will have to suffer until it gets its house in order. What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation – further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan … Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children…” Amis was not recommending these tactics for criminals or suspects only. He was proposing them as punitive measures against all Muslims, guilty or innocent. The idea was that by hounding and humiliating them as a whole, they would return home and teach their children to be obedient to the White Man’s law. There seems something mildly defective about this logic.

In fact, I wrote so in a new introduction to my book Ideology: An Introduction, little suspecting that a volume that investigates Lukacs and Adorno would be seized upon by the Daily Express.

To read the entire article.

See the various press commentary on the issue:

Prospect Magazine blog, news piece, October 07


Independent, news piece, Oct 07


Guardian, John  Sutherland’s blog, Oct 07


Telegraph, news piece, Oct 07


Sunday Times, profile of Terry Eagleton, Oct 07


Guardian, Terry Eagleton’s response, Oct 07


Telegraph, column, Oct 07


Telegraph, column, Oct 07


Observer, column, Oct 07


Independent, column, Oct 07


The Daily Mail:


Satirist Chris Morris heckling Amis at the ICA:


A letter:


More letters:


Leader comment:



Amis’s letter:



Channel 4 news, Amis interviewed, Oct 07


Ronan Bennett on Martin Amis:


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In the Socialist Review, Shuan Doherty praises the new literary critic work Task of the Critic. Written by Terry Eagleton and Matthew Beaumont, this comprehensive volume of interviews covers Eagleton’s life and the development of his thought and politics. According to the reviewer, the book is a

brilliant intellectual biography of our foremost literary theorist and critic. Beaumont has steeped himself in Eagleton’s prodigious output across a range of literary genres and brought to it his own considerable insights and research to produce a book worthy of its subject. It is a genuine dialogue.

Read the full article here.

Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow at the University of Manchester. His other publications include Walter Benjamin, Literary Theory: An Introduction, The Function of Criticism, Criticism and Ideology, The Illusions of Postmodernism, Figures of Dissent and Ideology: An Introduction. He is also a dramatist, and his plays have been collected in Saint Oscar and Other Plays; in addition, he has written the filmscript for Wittgenstein and the novel Saints and Scholars.

The book has been edited by Matthew Beaumont, who with Gregory Dart is co-editor of the forthcoming Restless Cities.

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In The Australian, Richard King, a journalist and poet, remembers the influence of Terry Eagleton when he was at university:

WHEN I studied literature at university, Terry Eagleton was something of a celebrity. The author of such influential books as Criticism and Ideology and Literary Theory: An Introduction, he seemed to have found a critical register that rejected both appreciation in the narrowly belletristic sense and the wilful obscurantism of most post-structuralism.

He was, and indeed still is, a Marxist, and his literary criticism, like Marx’s philosophy, was an attempt to understand the world with a view to actually changing it.

King finds fascinating new insights to the life of the Marxist critic in The Task of the Critic, a collection of interviews with Matthew Beaumont which covers both his life and development of his thought and politics in a chronological order:

The book takes the form of a series of interviews, each with its own bibliography. The structure is chronological, the emphasis both biographical and intellectual, such that the book effectively serves as an intellectual biography. Thus we move from Eagleton’s childhood in a working-class Irish Catholic community to his academic posts in Cambridge, Oxford and Manchester, to his recent spat with Martin Amis in the British press.

Beaumont, though clearly sympathetic to Eagleton’s criticism generally, does an excellent job of guiding the discussion in such a way as to elucidate the consistencies and inconsistencies in Eagleton’s positions over the years.

The Task of the Critic can be a difficult book but it’s one that rewards careful study.

Terry Eagleton is the author of many books including Criticism and Ideology: A Study in Marxist Literary TheoryIdeology: An Introduction, Walter Benjamin: Or, Towards a Revolutionary Criticism and the The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue.

Restless Cities, co-edited by Matthew Beaumont, is forthcoming.

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Scott McLemee of Inside Higher Ed reviews The Task of the Critic by Terry Eagleton, edited by Matthew Beaumont.

In a series of interviews that span the development of Eagleton’s thought and politics, the book works as ‘an intellectual autobiography’ as well as a discussion of the democratic potential of literary theory:

Nobody expects an engineering textbook to require anything but diligent attention. This is not a matter of the intrinsic elitism of engineers. “And just as in engineering, there is a specific set of skills and languages to be learnt in literary theory in order to understand it. What I’m saying is that populism need not be the only opposition to elitism.”

A good point, and a fine one. The complexity of the situation is there, right out in the open, but Eagleton evokes it in terms that, while simple, do not understate what is at stake. That tends to be much harder than it looks (…)

Something worth adding to the list of new year’s resolutions: “Read more Terry Eagleton.”

Read the full article here.

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