The Jamesonian Unconscious

The Aesthetics of Marxist Theory

The Jamesonian Unconscious

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: Published: June 1995

Author: Clint Burnham

Cultural Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Marxism

Imagine Fredric Jameson—the world’s foremost Marxist critic—kidnapped and taken on a joyride through the cultural ephemera, generational hype, and Cold War fallout of our post-post-contemporary landscape. In The Jamesonian Unconscious, a book as joyful as it is critical and insightful, Clint Burnham devises unexpected encounters between Jameson and alternative rock groups, new movies, and subcultures. At the same time, Burnham offers an extraordinary analysis of Jameson’s work and career that refines and extends his most important themes.
In an unusual biographical move, Burnham negotiates Jameson’s major works—including Marxism and Form, The Political Unconscious, and Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism—by way of his own working-class, queer-ish, Gen-X background and sensibility. Thus Burnham’s study draws upon an immense range of references familiar to the MTV generation, including Reservoir Dogs, theorists Slavoj Zizek and Pierre Bourdieu, The Satanic Verses, Language poetry, the collapse of state communism in Eastern Europe, and the indie band Killdozer. In the process, Burnham addresses such Jamesonian questions as how to imagine the future, the role of utopianism in capitalist culture, and the continuing relevance of Marxist theory.
Through its redefinition of Jameson’s work and compelling reading of the political present, The Jamesonian Unconscious defines the leading edge of Marxist theory. Written in a style by turns conversational, playful, and academic, this book will appeal to students and scholars of Marxism, critical theory, aesthetics, narratology, and cultural studies, as well as the wide circle of readers who have felt and understood Jameson’s influence.


"Burnham’s smart, loud, and hedonistic tour of Fredric Jameson’s writings is full of surprises and new perspectives—not just on Jameson’s work but on theory, politics, and culture more generally. Self-described ‘brutalist,’ Burnham’s almost breathless way of approaching his topics is entertainingly original. He ends with a challenging ‘synoptic’ version of Jameson’s work that will affect not only readers of Jameson’s work, but anyone interested in the politics of cultural forms in the era of ‘late capitalism.’" — Paul Smith, Carnegie Mellon University

"Clint Burnham gives Jameson’s career a fantastic and impious and appealing new life. The Jamesonian Unconscious is a young, lively, street-wise, culturally cool reappropriation of a tradition of thought often associated with graying white male modernists. It has something of that elusive style I’ve heard personified, wistfully, as ‘Camille Paglia of the left.’ People will remember it when nine-tenths of the scholarly books published are just titles in a library catalog." — Bruce Robbins, Rutgers University


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Price: $26.95

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