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Fredric Jameson
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Postmodernism or The cultural logic of late capitalism Post-contemporary interventions

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  4,768 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism is a 1991 book by Fredric Jameson offering a critique of modernism and postmodernism from a Marxist perspective. The book began as a 1984 article in the New Left Review.

Fredric Jameson's most wide-ranging work seeks to crystalize a definition of postmodernism; Jameson's inquiry looks at the postmodern across a wide l
Hardcover, 438 pages
Published April 13th 1991 by Duke Univ Pr (Tx) (first published 1984)
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Aug 29, 2007 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
greg got me to read this. finished it in a laundromat in w.phila and stared into the swirling machine for an hour afterward just trying to cope.
Jun 11, 2011 AC rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: postmodernism
I agree with the reviewer who said: simply read the first essay ("Culture"; which is a slightly edited version of a famous paper published in 1984), and leave it at that. There are some marvelous insights on the problem of postmodernism and the spectacularization of contemporary capitalism; but also plenty of jargon, meandering, and (not to judge) also lots of engagement with arcane theoretical issues that are way beyond my present ken. The next several chapters look like case studies, and the l ...more
David M
Arguably the main problem with this book can be found in the subtitle. The concept 'late capitalism,' as developed by Ernest Mandel, refers to the postwar global economy; that is, the compromise of state regulated capital and social democracy. By the time Jameson wrote these essays, capitalism was already moving on to a later stage called 'neoliberalism.'

At the heart of this book, then, is a shotgun wedding between vivid, up-to-date aesthetic practices and an increasingly outmoded economic conc
I'll start by saying that Jameson knows his shit. As this qualifier suggests, there's something that needs qualifying. Throughout the book, self-awareness is a giant elephant in the room. By not taking a stance on various postmodernists (Haacke, Gehry, Claude Simon, et al), Jameson starts to function as an apologist rather than as an observer of it. Furthermore, his approach is intensely historicist, dismissing the myriad alternatives to his theory. So can anything valuable be ascertained from t ...more
Aug 12, 2007 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're involved in the fields of literary, cultural, or media studies, you should read this book -- or at least the introduction and first few essays;however, be prepared for a slow and painful experience. Jameson's language is dense and his ideas are complex (to put it lightly). Before attempting to read this book you should have a basic understanding of Marxism and semiotics. I'm not saying this to sound like a hot-shot smarty pants. If someone hadn't explained these things to me first, I w ...more
Pritom Ghum
May 20, 2016 Pritom Ghum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
বহুদিন ধরে ছুটা নিবনধ পড়তে পড়তে, অনেক দিন পর একটা সমপূরন পরবনধের বই শেষ করা।চমৎকার বই। একজন সতযিকারের একাডেমিশিয়ান যা বোঝায়, জেমসন তাই! একটা পিওর করিটিক পান করার অভিজঞতা। ফরাসোঁয়া লিওতার এর হযাংওভার কাটছে। ভালো বযাপারটা।

কযাপিটালিসট দরশনকে যেমন সংহত রূপ দিয়েছিলেন - জন মেনারড কিনস বা কমিউনিজমকে মারকস- এঙগেলস, পোষটমডারনিজমের কষেতরে আমরা জানি, এরকম কোন কুতুব তাতে নেই। বরং যাদের নাম উচচারিত হয়, ফরাসোঁয়া লিওতার, ফুকো, দেরীদা, বদরিয়াঁ এরা সবাই পোষটমডারন সময়ের একেক লকষনের বযাখযাকার মাতর। বাট, তার কোন স
Mar 11, 2008 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dan by: Chris K.
Jameson's book is the gold standard against which I rank similar studies (Linda Hutcheon's A Poetics of Postmodernism, Jean-François Lyotard's The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge). Jameson's thought is complex, and this is reflected in his sentences and paragraphs, which are frequently difficult to read. However, if you have the time, it is worth rereading sentences and determining how this clause is related to that parenthetical statement--almost invariably, once you have worked out ...more
Jul 30, 2009 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Paul De Man
Shelves: theory
Officially, half of my summer reading is completed. I'm not sure I know exactly what to say after this. I've got a much better understanding of some of the aspects of postmodernism, how Marxist analysis plays out over many different forms, what tensions exist between the two and weather they're relevant or not.

My favorite moment: Jameson pwns Paul De Man and most of deconstruction-post structuralism in one chapter, rendering it almost silly. But there is still much to be learned from this entir
Jan 22, 2009 Paul is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Too long, too difficult--and too worthwhile to ignore. Even if one isn't interested in post-Marxist dialogues at the end of the 20th century--and I'm not, or only to a certain point which Jameson reaches on about page three--there's enough ideas for everyone and anyone in this book about what happened and is happening in American culture after WWII.
Bryce Wilson
I'm not going to lie Jameson verbally owns my ass.

Though I might not agree with his philosophy trying to argue with it is like trying to argue with The Architect in The Matrix.

You just ain't gonna win.

(Runs back to his vernacular based books as quick as he can.)
Dec 06, 2007 Jenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recently reread this book for class and it is just as amazing as ever. Though a little hard to follow at times, Jameson accurately and almost flawlessly describes the post-modern human condition.
Mar 12, 2008 Joseph is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm gonna a rip Jameson a new asshole. Strikes me as one of them God paradoxa: Can one rip Jameson an asshole when, in fact, his is the biggest asshole one can find?
Nov 14, 2007 Nicholas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
Essential Reading. Jameson's discourse is profound and necessary to navigate the postmodern cultural landscape - Read it!
Ted Burke
This is a key book for those struggling to comprehend the verbal murk that constituted post modernist theory , which is a shame, because Fredrick Jameson cannot help but add his own murk to this occasionally useful overview of a directionless philosophical inclination. He certainly brings a lot of reading into his digressive discussions and reveals how much the idea of post modern strategy--Lyotard's notion that the Grand Narrative that unified all accounts of our history, purpose and collective ...more
Dec 23, 2015 Lorraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
essential for anyone who has an interest in late capitalism and why we are the way we are.

I did find this hard going though. Jameson's verbosity, sadly, doesn't seem to me to be an acting out of being intelligence. I do think the dude DOES think in that way. If you get through it though (disclaimer: I read fairly carefully, but skipped chapters on film, space, architecture and video) the insights are scintillating. It could, however, do with more jokes -- my favourite parts are when Jameson make
Oliver Bateman
Nov 18, 2013 Oliver Bateman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Owing to the fact that I assigned this book to my graduate students, I can finally say that a) I finished it, b) I taught it, and c) I love/hate it. Jameson's effort to link Marxist analysis with postmodern critique is at points inspired, and some of his own source analyses (the films Something Wild and Blue Velvet, Frank Gehry's house, etc.) are excellent, but the "theory" section of the book (a look two theorists, with only DeMan being truly notable) that stretches from p. 178 to p. 280 is abs ...more
Leonard Houx
Jan 04, 2011 Leonard Houx rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a lot of academic books, this is really more of a series of articles united by a subject (postmodernism) than a single treatise--and it is better read that way. Unless you are a glutton for punishment, like me. I enjoyed and learned the most from his introduction, his chapter on architecture and his chapter on theory.

That said, I see why many treat it as such an essential text.
Jan 25, 2016 DJ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This Marxist doorstopper, long since abandoned to the bottom shelf and thus resigned to a future of dust and desuetude, is too potent a reminder of my own adolescent folly for me to rate it, even if I could recall any value in the avalanche of gibberish it discloses. In a post-Sokal affair world, it's almost cant to suggest that said gibberish is more or less obscurantism, but the hydralike effect of Jameson's prose really is something to behold—all the heads gibbering and babbling, weaving and ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Leonardo marked it as to-keep-ref  ·  review of another edition
En su primer proyecto de referencia, la rehabilitación de su propia vivienda en Santa Mónica (1977-1978), Gehry «tomó una modesta casa en una esquina del solar y la envolvió con capas de chapas metálicas y enrejados por las que asoman estructuras de cristal. El resultado era una simple casa extrudida en sorprendentes formas y superficies, espacios y vistas».

Jameson percibe un impulso cuasiutópico en esta «dialéctica entre los remanentes de una tradición (las habitaciones de la casa vieja, conser
Jul 12, 2012 Julian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art, philosophy, favorites
Fredric Jameson is not as terribly dense as some other writers and thinkers out there (don't know if that was a compliment or what...) I didn't seem to think that this book was as terribly hard to read as some other reviewers but I would say that potential readers definitely have to be in the right mood for the book. Some of the sections are more drawn out (ie. less fun to read) than they probably needed to be. However, elaboration and digression are common in these kinds of books where the auth ...more
Aug 30, 2015 Phillip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read just a few chapters of this collection, which were relevant for my diss. That being said, I liked Jameson more than I thought I would. In the past whenever I've tried to read his work I was really put off because I get the sense (I still have this sense, just it didn't bother me as much this time) that he fundamentally doesn't like postmodernism and wishes it were something more like modernism. Much of his analysis of postmodernism highlights the instability, the superficiality, and the d ...more
Jacques le fataliste et son maître
Edizione (molto) accresciuta di:
che diventa il primo capitolo della presente opera.
Riporto quanto dice l’autore al riguardo: «ho ristampato la mia analisi programmatica del postmoderno […] senza modifiche di rilievo, giacché l’attenzione che essa ricevette all’epoca (nel 1984) le conferisce l’interesse aggiuntivo di un documento storico; nella conclusione vengono discussi altri aspetti del postmoderno che paiono essersi imposti da allora. Ugualmente non
Andrew Rothmund
Jan 11, 2016 Andrew Rothmund rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non
Excellent insights if you have the patience for Jameson's truly abysmal writing. With evidence of purposeful pedantry missing, I can only guess that Jameson is too caught up in his wild and sometimes brilliant abstractions to spend any time figuring out how to actually communicate them clearly. Considering the popularity of this book, we should ask whether he has the resources for an editor who won't let clumbsy phrasing and excessive parenthetical statements (among other red marks) interfere wi ...more
Chris Drew
Jul 25, 2013 Chris Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though slightly dated I found it remarkably relevant. Jameson does a great job of elaborating on and exemplifying his points, and makes a great case for examining 'postmodernism' (a term he admits to using reluctantly) as a reflection (or symptom) of late capitalism. He ties his argument together with examinations of history and culture that range from architecture to MTV and provide interesting and thoughtful bases for the notions of human development his work asserts. Ultimately the book's goa ...more
Chelsea Szendi
May 04, 2010 Chelsea Szendi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
I give five stars to the New Left Review article Jameson published in 1984 and which he then fleshed out into this book, which (perhaps unfairly) gets only four because it exhausted me. Read the New Left Review article, then visit this book for any cultural medium of particular interest to you, then read the Perry Anderson "The Origins of Postmodernity" and call it a day. Except even that will probably take you a week. Don't worry. It's be a good week.

I particularly like that Jameson spends so m
When I stumbled on those all-too-rare fragments I could make any vague sense of (usually about Marx), I found this very, very interesting. It may be easier if you've read more then I have out of the dozens if not hundreds of novels, philosophy texts, and so on that he references. I've never even heard of half the people he seems to assume the reader is familiar with. I would be interested to read other pieces by Jameson if they focus in territory I'm more familiar with, but I'm pretty sure his w ...more
Strand McCutchen
[ Cratylism] - A philosophy taking after the Platonic dialogue of Cratylus, in which Cratylus argues that language is natural rather than conventional.
"It thus turns out that it is not only in love, cratylism, and botany that the supreme act of nomination wields a material impact and, like lightning striking from the superstructure back to the base, fuses its unlikely materials into a gleaming lump or lava surface."
--Introduction p. xiii
Jul 04, 2013 María rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
That was too dense... way too dense. Plus I didn't learn anything new from it. He does manage to draw an accurate picture of the postmodern condition, but it's just not worth the effort of deciphering his meaning, it is really way too dense... My brain is too exhausted, and I'm actually a bit angry, because I don't think it's necessary to write like that in order to prove that you're a good thinker... Who does he think he is, Derrida? ;)
I'll just stick to Linda Hutcheon.
Egor Sofronov
Jun 27, 2012 Egor Sofronov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best philosophical, or rather, theoretical book, I have ever read. Deep-probing and transparent speculations laid out in lucid prose (unlike most of the French or German comrades) surprisingly tend to confirm all my ideological bias ('convictions'). As if this book's ideas had all been purloined and siphoned into the others' thinking and, more importantly, into the media. All the more refreshing and sparking to read the text itself
May 02, 2012 JW rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly if it could fit, I would keep this text in my back pocket. I reference it more than just about any other, and has been essential in developing my understanding of the complex dynamics contributing to Postmodernism as a dominant cultural form of production. Dense, but the incredible depth of knowledge he shares is done so in a way that Is both effective and rewarding.
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  • The Condition of Postmodernity
  • Aesthetics and Politics
  • Marxism and Literature
  • The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays
  • The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge
  • Specters of Marx
  • Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays
  • Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings
  • The Location of Culture
  • Image-Music-Text
  • A Poetics of Postmodernism
  • History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics
  • A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
  • The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture
Fredric Jameson (born 14 April 1934) is an American literary critic and Marxist political theorist. He is best known for his analysis of contemporary cultural trends—he once described postmodernism as the spatialization of culture under the pressure of organized capitalism. Jameson's best-known books include Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, The Political Unconscious, and Marxi ...more
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“It is safest to grasp the concept of the postmodern as an attempt to think the present historically in an age that has forgotten how to think historically in the first place.” 9 likes
“Insofar as the theorist wins, therefore, by constructing an increasingly closed and terrifying machine, to that very degree he loses, since the critical capacity of his work is thereby paralysed, and the impulses of negation and revolt, not to speak of those of social transformation, are increasingly perceived as vain and trivial in the face of the model itself.” 8 likes
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