Fredric Jameson bigraphy, stories - American academic

Fredric Jameson : biography

14 April 1934 -

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 Marxism and Form.

Jameson is currently William A. Lane Professor in The Program in Literature and Romance Studies at Duke University. In 2012, the MLA gave Jameson their sixth Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement.

Life and works

Jameson was born in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from Haverford College in 1954, where his professors included Wayne Booth,Michael Hardt and Kathi Weeks, "Introduction" to Fredric Jameson, The Jameson Reader, ed. Hardt and Weeks, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, p. 5. he briefly traveled to Europe, studying at Aix-en-Provence, Munich and Berlin, where he learned of new developments in continental philosophy, including the rise of structuralism. He returned to America the following year to pursue a doctoral degree at Yale University, where he studied under Erich Auerbach.

Early works

Erich Auerbach would prove to be a lasting influence on Jameson's thought. This was already apparent in the latter's doctoral dissertation, which would be published in 1961 as Sartre: the Origins of a Style. Auerbach's concerns were rooted in the German philological tradition; his works on the history of style analyzed literary form within social history. Jameson would follow in these steps, examining the articulation of poetry, history, philology, and philosophy in the works of Jean-Paul Sartre.

Jameson's work focused on the relation between the style of Sartre's writings and the political and ethical positions of his existentialist philosophy. The occasional Marxian aspects of Sartre's work were glossed over in this book; Jameson would return to them in the following decade.Ian Buchanan, Fredric Jameson: Live Theory, London and New York: Continuum, 2006, pp. 29-30.

Jameson's dissertation, though it drew on a long tradition of European cultural analysis, differed markedly from the prevailing trends of Anglo-American academia (which were empiricism and logical positivism in philosophy and linguistics, and New Critical formalism in literary criticism). It nevertheless earned Jameson a position at Harvard University, where he taught during the first half of the 1960s.

Research into Marxism

His interest in Sartre led Jameson to intense study of Marxist literary theory. Even though Karl Marx was becoming an important influence in American social science, partly through the influence of the many European intellectuals who had sought refuge from the Second World War in the U.S., such as Theodor Adorno, the literary and critical work of the Western Marxists were still largely unknown in American academia in the late 1950s and early 1960s.Ian Buchanan, Fredric Jameson: Live Theory, London and New York: Continuum, 2006, p. 120.

Jameson's shift toward Marxism was also driven by his increasing political connection with the New Left and pacifist movements, as well as by the Cuban Revolution, which Jameson took as a sign that "Marxism was alive and well as a collective movement and a culturally productive force".Fredric Jameson, "Interview with Srinivas Aramudan and Ranjanna Khanna," in Jameson on Jameson: Conversations on Cultural Marxism, ed. Ian Buchanan (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007), p. 204. His research focused on critical theory: thinkers of, and influenced by, the Frankfurt School such as Kenneth Burke, György Lukács, Ernst Bloch, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Louis Althusser, and Sartre, who viewed cultural criticism as an integral feature of Marxist theory. This position represented a break with more orthodox Marxism-Leninism, which held a narrow view of historical materialism. In some ways Jameson has been concerned, along with other Marxist cultural critics such as Terry Eagleton, to articulate Marxism's relevance in respect to current philosophical and literary trends. In 1969, Jameson co-founded the Marxist Literary Group with a number of his graduate students at the University of California, San Diego.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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