The Blogora: The Rhetoric Society of America


Did Marx Have a Political Unconscious

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 25, 2011 - 11:52pm

I'll continue with my blogging of Jameson's Representing Capital tomorrow, but tonight it hit me what's troublesome about his analysis. Jameson does elegant and persuasive readings of figures as diverse as Balzac, Wyndham Lewis, George Gissing, and even Hegel (in the recent Hegel Variations, a much better book than this one)--I note the absence of a single Greimasian semiotic rectangle in the present book. Alvin Gouldner (never cited by Jameson) had the courage to explore the political unconscious of Marxism itself (hint: it was the intellectuals' will-to-power).


Stalin Apologia

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 25, 2011 - 10:04am

There are still defenders of Stalin around, in the more sectarian parts of the far Left. Here's an interesting bit of conspiracy-mongering (yes, Jews play a role, too) about the Great Helmsman's decline and death. There's a contribution to be made to the apologia scholarly literature on this issue. Anyone else have some good examples? H. Bruce Franklin's The Essential Stalin is particularly scary (one notes he has omitted the book from his bibliography--he holds an endowed chair at Rutgers).


Jameson, Representing Capital, 1, Chapter 1

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 24, 2011 - 2:33pm

This is a dissatisfying chapter; I don't think it need be this obscure, even as it tries to replicate the dialectical form (at the sentence level) of the content of part one of Capital. But here goes (chime in here, if you're reading along with me).


Marx as Forensic Orator

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 20, 2011 - 8:52pm

An interesting speech to the jury in Marx's trial in 1849. I'd never seen it before.


Jameson, Representing Capital, 7

Submitted by Jim Aune on July 20, 2011 - 2:05pm

I've been slacking a bit on posting notes about Jameson's book (part of the problem is that it's denser prose than usual); as perhaps is appropriate for a work on dialectic, I'm going to skip ahead to the concluding chapter in hopes that it illuminates the body of the text.

"Political Conclusions"

1. unlike the Manifesto, Capital I has no political conclusions.

2. What do we mean by the political?

a. handbooks for political activism, e.g Machiavelli, von Clausewitz, Sorel, or Lenin.


"Idiocy of Rural Life"

Submitted by Jim Aune on June 8, 2010 - 12:57pm

I really love Bookforum. Here's a collection of recent work on Derrida,Jameson, and Sloterdijk. Two of the articles linked to, however, perpetuate the myth that Marx and Engels referred to the "idiocy of rural life" in the Manifesto. (The phrase is often used by Greens to mischaracterize M&E as relentless modernizers.) The editors of Monthly Review (following Hal Draper's heroic scholarship) explain why "Idiotismus" means "isolation," totally changing the meaning of the sentence.


Speaking of Which. . .

Submitted by Jim Aune on February 4, 2009 - 10:02am

A nine-and-a-half hour movie of Marx's Kapital.