Capitalism is more powerful than ever, but its human embodiment seems to have vanished.
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Franco Moretti, The Bourgeois: Between History and Literature | Capoferro | Status Quaestionis
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The bourgeois : between history and literature
Written by leading art historians and artist-writers, the essays take a sharply critical look Buddhism Its History and Literature Course of Study in History and Literature, With. Excerpt from Course of Study in History and Literature, With Suggestions and DirectionsThe conviction is steadily gaining ground that education must deal primarily with the relations of the pupil to his environment in nature and to the community life of Many Marxist histories think of Eric Hobsbawm or E.
Thompson approach the problem of class by trying to pin down the shifting identity and allegiances of the working class. In his brief, compelling volume The Bourgeois , by contrast, Franco Moretti focuses on the class that supposedly has come to rule the modern era—the capital-owning bourgeoisie.
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What he finds is a class that begins by denying its existence as a class, and ends by staging its disappearance into an existential problem of modernity. To this important and yet amorphous task, Moretti brings some unique critical resources.
There is no other American critic writing today with the exception of Fredric Jameson who can command his breathtaking international range or his willingness to make large theoretical interventions. Moretti is a true member of that vanishing breed, the critic of comparative literature. His methodology is flexible, combining narratology and the history of genre, Marxist historiography, and statistical readings of archives made possible by new digital search techniques.
They are also visible on the level of single words in texts—especially, in this book, the use of gerunds and adjectives in literary sources. The goal here is to show how a literary style—even a style that resolves itself apparently into a lack of style, into pure efficiency or usefulness, can create a whole mindset that has the power to resolve or suspend social contradictions.
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The volume ends suggestively with two alternate teleologies. One depicts uneven developments in novels from Italy, Spain, Poland, and Russia, in which the new bourgeois spirit is not victorious, but rather crushed by the persistence of the old regime. Since capitalism appears still to be intact, was bourgeois culture merely a birth stage that has been superseded by shameless exploitation, and is capitalism now doomed to collapse without that regulatory desire for social harmony?