The Idea of Culture
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The Idea of Culture

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'Culture' is said to be one of the two or three most complex words in the English language, and the term which is sometimes considered to be its opposite, 'Nature', is commonly awarded the accolade of being the most complex of all. Terry Eagleton's book, in this vital new series from Blackwell, focuses on discriminating different meanings of culture, as a way of introducing to the general reader the contemporary debates around it. In what amounts to a major statement, with pointed relevance to the world in the new millennium, Eagleton launches a critique of postmodern 'culturalism', arguing instead for a more complex relation between Culture and Nature, and trying to retrieve the importance of such concepts as human nature from a non-naturalistic perspective. His book sets its face against a certain fashionable populism in this area, as well as drawing attention to the deficiencies of elitism. It makes radical inquiry into the reasons, both creditable and discreditable, why 'culture' has come in our own period to bulk as large as it does, and provocatively proposes that it is time, while acknowledging its significance, to put it back in its place.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 168 pages
  • 164 x 227 x 10mm | 266g
  • BLACKWELL PUBLISHERS
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Repr.
  • 0631219668
  • 9780631219668
  • 75,357

Back cover copy

'Culture' is said to be one of the two or three most complex words in the English language, and the term which is sometimes considered to be its opposite, 'Nature', is commonly awarded the accolade of being the most complex of all. Terry Eagleton's book, in this vital new series from Blackwell, focuses on discriminating different meanings of culture, as a way of introducing to the general reader the contemporary debates around it.


In what amounts to a major statement, with pointed relevance to the world in the new millennium, Eagleton launches a critique of postmodern "culturalism", arguing instead for a more complex relation between Culture and Nature, and trying to retrieve the importance of such concepts as human nature from a non-naturalistic perspective. His book sets its face against a certain fashionable populism in this area, as well as drawing attention to the deficiencies of elitism. It makes radical inquiry into the reasons, both creditable and discreditable, why 'culture' has come in our own period to bulk as large as it does, and provocatively proposes that it is time, while acknowledging its significance, to put it back in its place.
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Table of contents

1. Versions of Culture. 2. Culture in Crisis. 3. Culture Wars. 4. Culture and Nature. 5. Towards a Common Culture. Notes. Index.
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Review Text

"In this brief volume, Eagleton has produced both a thoughtful analysis of cultural theories as well as a shrewd, liberal dissection of current social and political trends." Publishers Weekly

"Eagleton s latest book promises to be an important addition to the field of cultural studies." Library Journal

"A magnificent reassertion of timeless cultural values." The Observer

"A voice of sanity amid the roar of turbo-capitalism." Independent

"As always, Eagleton shows a provocative wealth of learning. He is able to see the many sides of a problem, to put it in context and suggest new ways of viewing it, a healthy corrective to the soundbite society." Times Higher Education Supplement

"Stimulating and very readable. The Idea of Culture is a book which challenges our attention." The Irish Times
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Review quote

"In this brief volume, Eagleton has produced both a thoughtful analysis of cultural theories as well as a shrewd, liberal dissection of current social and political trends."Publishers Weekly "Eagleton's latest book promises to be an important addition to the field of cultural studies." Library Journal "A magnificent reassertion of timeless cultural values." The Observer "A voice of sanity amid the roar of turbo-capitalism."Independent "As always, Eagleton shows a provocative wealth of learning. He is able to see the many sides of a problem, to put it in context and suggest new ways of viewing it, a healthy corrective to the soundbite society."Times Higher Education Supplement "Stimulating and very readable. The Idea of Culture is a book which challenges our attention."The Irish Times
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About Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton is Professor of Cultural Theory and John Rylands Fellow at the University of Manchester. His numerous works include The Illusions of Postmodernism (1996), Literary Theory: An Introduction (second edition, 1996), The Ideology of the Aesthetic (1990) and Scholars and Rebels in Nineteenth Century Ireland (1999), all published by Blackwell, as are his dramatic writings, St Oscar and Other Plays (1997), and the Eagleton Reader (1997) edited by Stephen Regan. Terry Eagleton is co-editor (with Stephen Regan) of The Blackwell Companion to Literary Theory, forthcoming in 2001.
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Rating details

248 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 17% (42)
4 41% (102)
3 29% (71)
2 9% (22)
1 4% (11)
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