Post-structuralism is among other things a kind of theoretical hangover from the failed uprising of ‘68, a way of keeping the revolution warm at the level of language, blending the euphoric libertarianism of that moment with the stoical melancholia of its aftermath.

— Terry Eagleton

The most undeniable Terry Eagleton quotes that are easy to memorize and remember

After all, if you do not resist the apparently inevitable, you will never know how inevitable the inevitable was.

49

The British are supposed to be particularly averse to intellectuals, a prejudice closely bound up with their dislike of foreigners. Indeed, one important source of this Anglo-Saxon distaste for highbrows and eggheads was the French revolution, which was seen as an attempt to reconstruct society on the basis of abstract rational principles.

48

Nations sometimes flourish by denying the crimes that brought them into being.

Only when the original invasion, occupation, extermination or usurpation has been safely thrust into the political unconscious can sovereignty feel secure.

27

A socialist is just someone who is unable to get over his or her astonishment that most people who have lived and died have spent lives of wretched, fruitless, unremitting toil.

22

Socialism is the completion of democracy, not the negation of it.

15

Modern capitalist nations are the fruit of a history of slavery, genocide, violence and exploitation every bit as abhorrent as Mao's China or Stalin's Soviet Union.

12

Understanding is always in some sense retrospective, which is what Hegel meant by remarking that the owl of Minerva flies only at night.

11

People do evil things because they are evil.

Some people are evil in the way that some things are coloured indigo. They commit their evil deeds not to achieve some goal, but just because of the sort of people they are.

10

From the viewpoint of political power, culture is absolutely vital.

So vital, indeed, that power cannot operate without it. It is culture, in the sense of the everyday habits and beliefs of a people, which beds power down, makes it appear natural and inevitable, turns it into spontaneous reflex and response.

10

Schizophrenic language has in this sense an interesting resemblance to poetry.

9

To declare in St John's words that Jesus and the Father are one is to claim that Jesus's dependence on the Other is not self-estrangement but self-ful lment. At the core of his identity ..lies nothing but unconditional love.

8

Yahweh is presented in the Jewish Bible as stateless and nationless.

He can’t be used as a totem or fetish in that way.

7

About Terry Eagleton

Quotes 102 sayings
Nationality English
Profession Critic
Birthday October 16

Literature transforms and intensifies ordinary language, deviates systematically from everyday speech. If you approach me at a bus stop and murmur Thou still unravished bride of quietness, then I am instantly aware that I am in the presence of the literary.

7

A truly common culture is not one in which we all think alike, or in which we all believe that fairness is next to godliness, but one in which everyone is allowed to be in on the project of cooperatively shaping a common way of life.

6

Capitalism is the sorcerer's apprentice: it has summoned up powers which have spun wildly out of control and now threaten to destroy us.The task of socialism is not to spur on those powers but to bring them under rational human control.

5

Postmodernism is among other things a sick joke at the expense of revolutionary avant-gardism.

4

An enlightened trust in the sovereignty of human reason can be every bit as magical as the exploits of Merlin, and a faith in our capacity for limitless self-improvement just as much a wide-eyed superstition as a faith in leprechauns.

3

The New Testament is a brutal destroyer of human illusions.

If you follow Jesus and don't end up dead, it appears you have some explaining to do. The stark signifier of the human condition is one who spoke up for love and justice and was done to death for his pains. The traumatic truth of human history is a mutilated body.

3

Negativity is often looked upon [in the USA] as a kind of thought crime.

Not since the advent of socialist realism has the world witnessed such pathological upbeatness.

3

Cynicism and naivety lie cheek by jowl in the American imagination;

if the United States is one of the most venal nations on Earth, it is also one of the most earnestly idealistic.

3

If the masses are not thrown a few novels , they may react by throwing up a few barricades.

3

Because subjects like literature and art history have no obvious material pay-off, they tend to attract those who look askance at capitalist notions of utility. The idea of doing something purely for the delight of it has always rattled the grey-bearded guardians of the state. Sheer pointlessness has always been a deeply subversive affair.

3

The political currents that topped the global agenda in the late 20th century - revolutionary nationalism, feminism and ethnic struggle - place culture at their heart.

3

The Kantian imperative to have the courage to think for oneself has involved a contemptuous disregard for the resources of tradition and an infantile view of authority as inherently oppressive.

3

In the end, it is because the media are driven by the power and wealth of private individuals that they turn private lives into public spectacles. If every private life is now potentially public property, it is because private property has undermined public responsibility.

3

If there are indeed any iron laws of history, one of them is surely that in any major crisis of the capitalist system, a sector of the liberal middle class will shift to the left, and then shift smartly back again once the crisis has blown over.

3

There is an insuperable problem about introducing immigrants to British values.

There are no British values. Nor are there any Serbian or Peruvian values. No nation has a monopoly on fairness and decency, justice and humanity.

3

You can tell that the capitalist system is in trouble when people start talking about capitalism.

3

Historical determinism is a recipe for political quietism.

3

Literature transforms and intensifies ordinary language, deviates systematically from everyday speech.

2

Capitalism cannot survive without a working class, while the working class can flourish a lot more freely without capitalism.

2

It is capitalism, not Marxism, that trades in futures.

2

Most students of literature can pick apart a metaphor or spot an ethnic stereotype, but not many of them can say things like: 'The poem's sardonic tone is curiously at odds with its plodding syntax.

2

The conversion of agnostic High Tories to the Anglican church is always rather suspect. It seems too pat and predictable, too clearly a matter of politics rather than faith.

0

Poetry is the most subtle of the literary arts, and students grow more ingenious by the year at avoiding it. If they can nip around Milton, duck under Blake and collapse gratefully into the arms of Jane Austen, a lot of them will.

0

It is silly to call fat people gravitationally challenged -- a self-righteous fetishism of language which is no more than a symptom of political frustration.

0

History works itself out by an inevitable internal logic.

0

In the end, the humanities can only be defended by stressing how indispensable they are; and this means insisting on their vital role in the whole business of academic learning, rather than protesting that, like some poor relation, they don't cost much to be housed.

0

Capitalism will behave antisocially if it is profitable for it to do so, and that can now mean human devastation on an unimaginable scale. What used to be apocalyptic fantasy is today no more than sober realism.

0

I do not know whether to be delighted or outraged by the fact that Literary Theory: An Introduction was the subject of a study by a well known U.S. business school, which was intrigued to discover how an academic text could become a best-seller.

0

Reading is not a straightforward linear movement, a merely cumulative affair: our initial speculations generate a frame of reference within which to interpret what comes next, but what comes next may retrospectively transform our original understanding, highlighting some features of it and backgrounding others.

0

What persuades men and women to mistake each other from time to time for gods or vermin is ideology. One can understand well enough how human beings may struggle and murder for good material reasons -- reasons connected, for instance, with their physical survival. It is much harder to grasp how they may come to do so in the name of something as apparently abstract as ideas. Yet ideas are what men and women live by, and will occasionally die for.

0

The truth is that the past exists no more than the future, even though it feels as though it does.

0

I liked early Amis a lot, but I stopped reading him some time ago.

I admire Hitchens on literary topics - I think he is very astute. McEwan, I read a bit. But I suppose it's more the ideological phenomenon that they represent together that interests me.

0

What's wrong with a bit of nostalgia between friends? I think nostalgia sometimes gets too much of a bad press.

0

If it is true that we need a degree of certainty to get by, it is also true that too much of the stuff can be lethal.

0

Irish fiction is full of secrets, guilty pasts, divided identities.

It is no wonder that there is such a rich tradition of Gothic writing in a nation so haunted by history.

0

If history moves forward, knowledge of it travels backwards, so that in writing of our own recent past we are continually meeting ourselves coming the other way.

0

I enjoy popularisation and I think I'm reasonably good at it.

I also think it's a duty. It's just so pedagogically stupid to forget how difficult one found these ideas oneself to begin with.

0
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