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Playwright, literary theorist, fine analyst of the works of Shakespeare, the Brontës, Swift and Joyce, scourge of postmodernism, autobiographer — Terry Eagleton’s achievements are many and his combative intelligence widely admired and respected. His skill as a reviewer is particularly notable: never content merely to assess the ideas of a writer and the theses of a book, Eagleton, in his inimitable and often wickedly funny style, always paints a vivid theoretical and political fresco as the background to his engagement with the texts.
In this collection of more than a decade of such bracing criticism, Eagleton comes face to face with Stanley Fish, Gayatri Spivak, Slavoj i ek, Edward Said, and even David Beckham. All are subjected to his pugnacious wit, scathing critical pen, and brilliant literary investigations.
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Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow, University of Manchester. His other books include Ideology; The Function of Criticism; Heathcliff and the Great Hunger; Against the Grain; Walter Benjamin; and Criticism and Ideology, all from Verso.From Publishers Weekly:
The review-essay is a form requiring journalistic concision, rigorous analytical thinking and sympathetic reading of another's texts. Eagleton, most famous in the U.S. for his oft-assigned Literary Theory: An Introduction and most recently the author of Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic, is also a prolific practitioner of the review-essay, publishing his thoughtful, politically charged and lucidly polemical summations most often in the London Review of Books. This book collects more than 40 such pieces, on the contemporary writers and thinkers of the subtitle, but also reaching back to Yeats, Wilde, Eliot and even Branwell Brönte, and across to more peers like Stuart Hall, Colin McCabe and Jonathan Dollimore. As Eagleton puts it when writing about political theorist Norberto Bobbio, "the political left has always had trouble with ethics, in theory as well as in practice." In Eagleton, readers on the left and the right have a passionate and subtle thinker providing a provisional path through the ethical woods.
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