The Origins of Postmodernity

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Verso, 1998 - History - 143 pages
Trenchant and panoramic, "The origins of postmodernity" traces the genesis, consolidation and consequences of the notion of the postmodern. Beginning its exhilarating intellectual tour in the Hispanic world of the 1930s, it follows the changes in the meanings and usage of the concept through to the late 1970s, when its adoption by Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jurgen Habermas first gave the idea of postmodernism wider currency. Central attention then falls on Fredric Jameson, whose work today represents the most outstanding general theory of the postmodern. Reconstructing the intellectual and political background of Jameson's interpretation of the present, "The origins of postmodernity" looks at its after-effects in the debates of the 1990s. Anderson enriches his much-cited analysis of modernism by placing postmodernism in the force field of a declasse bourgeoisie, the growth of mediatized technology and the historic global defeat of the left symbolized by the end of the Cold War. Rigorously pursuing his interpretation of postmodernism as the cultural logic of a multinational capitalism "complacent beyond precedent", Anderson ends with a set of historical reflections on the fading of modernism, shifts in the system of the arts, the rise of the spectacular, debates on the "end of art", and on the fate of politics in the postmodern world.

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User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Well, it's not exactly what the title claims. But the first two chapters are good, short summaries of the rise of the terms and ideas around 'postmodernism.' The third is an appreciation and summary ... Read full review

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This book contains a scathing critique of Lyotard, and of the origins of his ideas of an post-modernity itself.
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About the author (1998)

Perry Anderson is the author of, among other books, Spectrum, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Considerations on Western Marxism, English Questions, The Origins of Postmodernity, and The New Old World. He teaches history at UCLA and is on the editorial board of New Left Review.

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