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March 14, 2010



Eagleton's justification of nostalgia is telling. It's as if he has reached the limit of his ability to appeal to the intellect and finds that in order to persuade he has to draw on reserves that have to do with the subjective sentiments rather than rationality or common sense. It's a frightening slide, one might say, into a proto-fascist state of mind: romantic sentiment to a bygone time when things were somehow simpler, more pristine, nobler, or whatever. In order to justify relying on nostalgia one has to re-write the past to a certain extent.

Mick H

I think you're right. He's someone whose thinking formed in the Seventies, and he's been stuck there ever since.

John C

Could someone tell me why anyone takes Eagleton seriously or why he has achieved such a prominent position in the UK commentariat? He's always come over as Reg from the People's Front of Judaea (or was it the Judaean People's Front? - Monty Python really nailed the essence of far left 70s politics in that film). From what I've read of him, he's a pretty cruddy literary critic, judging authors by how closely they conform to his own political views. In his books on "culture" he tries to dazzle the reader by bombarding them with a bunch of references to the most fashionable thinkers and writers of European civilisation (or at least those readily available in English paperback translation), throwing in some cheap jokes and avoiding anything like hard empirical evidence or concrete examples. You could have fun playing a drinking game based on how many logical fallacies he commits per page and how many times he uses the word "bourgeois" but that's about it.

Isn't/wasn't Eagleton some sort of Trotskyite? If so he's spent a lifetime indulging in nostalgia for something that never was, romanticising a dictatorial thug who, to judge by what he actually did and wrote during the years when he had a share in power, would have rivalled Stalin for brutality had he become leader of the USSR. I couldn't find any mention of Trotsky's Communism and Terrorism in Tel's book Holy Terror. Funny that.


"Money" is the novel that makes me rank Amis as a favorite novelist, but then he wrote this too to Alibhai Brown when the controversy with Eagleton started: "...how I longed, Yasmin, for your soothing hand on my brow!" Bleh!

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