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Monday, July 16, 2007

The End of 20th Century British Literature

posted by on July 16 at 12:27 PM

Literary critic Terry Eagleton makes this case:

The knighting of Salman Rushdie is the establishment’s reward for a man who moved from being a remorseless satirist of the west to cheering on its criminal adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. David Hare caved in to the blandishments of Buckingham Palace some years ago, moving from radical to reformist. Christopher Hitchens, who looked set to become the George Orwell de nos jours, is likely to be remembered as our Evelyn Waugh, having thrown in his lot with Washington’s neocons. Martin Amis has written of the need to prevent Muslims travelling and to strip-search people “who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan”. Deportation, he considers, may be essential further down the road. The uniqueness of the situation is worth underlining.
One British writer who has not crumbled is Jonathan Raban. His novel Surveillance, which received mixed reviews, continued the fight against control society. In fact, the weak reviews and Raban’s strong political position must not be separated.

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Man, so many writers that I have never read.

Which is amusing, really.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 16, 2007 12:42 PM
Posted by Gabriel | July 16, 2007 12:43 PM

Tech support: why does it take so long for a comment to post after pressing "post"? It can take up to 20 seconds or so. I've mentioned this before, but nothing's changed.

Posted by Gabriel | July 16, 2007 12:45 PM

I being a proud Atheist certian thinks that religion is a cancer in the world that is threatening to destroy humanity. But I certianly do not think you can fight anyone to abandon those beliefs. Going to war for religious ideology is never right. I liked Christopher Hitches book "God is Not Great" but if he is advocating waging war on a society even in part due to religious reasons he is wrong. War is the absolute last resort to protect the survival of a society. We have become far far to casual in our waging of war.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | July 16, 2007 1:02 PM

Another thank you from the Charles Mudede cheering section!

Good post!

Posted by K X One | July 16, 2007 1:46 PM

In fact, the weak reviews and Rabanís strong political position must not be separated.

Um, why?

Posted by Art | July 16, 2007 1:48 PM

Eagleton is an apologist for the worst atrocities this century. He still thinks Lenin and Stalin were the bee's knees. He's deliberately misrepresenting the positions of Amis and the others mentioned here. And he neglects to mention that people like him, on the far left (the REAL far left, the Soviet-worshipping far left) HATED George Orwell.

Eagleton is last century's uncollected trash.

Posted by Fnarf | July 16, 2007 2:19 PM

I don't see why the politics and bad reviews need to be separated. Like all art, political art has only a few gems among the muck, but even given that, political art tends to be far, far worse than non-political art. It's a rare piece that has subtlety or genius. Most of it, particularly pieces written contemporaneously with the events involved, is mere propaganda. The only political art worth a damn are the pieces written by those who were young and involved in the events described, but who wrote about them many years later, after they had grown old and had children.

I think it's much more likely that the reviewers simply found his works to be so much tripe.

Posted by Gitai | July 16, 2007 2:31 PM

chaz is a commie, it's no wonder he laps up this tripe.

furthermore, charles speaks in absolutist terms like "must not". thats a sign of being high on your own supply.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | July 16, 2007 2:57 PM

I saw Rushdie at his reading at Seattle Town Hall before the Iraq War, and in the Q-and-A session he specifically stated that he was opposed to invading Iraq, saying he was particularly disturbed by the precedent that would be set by a so-called pre-emptive strike. Where did he ever come out encouraging or supporting the US invasion? I call shenanigans on Eagleton.

Posted by tsm | July 16, 2007 3:54 PM


Rushdie said something along the lines that it would be a nice thing for Saddam to get ousted, but did not argue that it should be done by an invading army.

Posted by keshmeshi | July 16, 2007 4:18 PM
A.S.Byatt, Writer My reaction is one of extreme apprehension. I don't want Britain to go to this war. I understand it is almost impossible for Tony Blair not to follow. Bush. I have hoped and believed Blair was trying to hold Bush back, but I believe it less now. I really question the motives of the American administration and I partly believe what people say about the oil. I supported the campaign against the Taliban because there's been a clear connection between al-Qaeda and 9/11. But it seems to me there's no such connection now, and I don't like to listen to the false logic that there is around. It makes me feel the Government takes me for a fool.

Christ, Mudede, instead of gassing about UK lit, just put "Ltd." after your name and be done with it.

Posted by tell me another one | July 16, 2007 7:55 PM

Eagleton is a member of that extreme minority who SUPPORTED Saddam, and supports still Mugabe, and Chavez, and every other dictator he has gotten wind of. It was quite possible to say one opposes Saddam and opposes the war, but Eagleton hears everything through a Bush=Hitler filter.

Posted by Fnarf | July 16, 2007 9:11 PM

Not to be picky, but didn't 20th century literature end with the end of the 20th century? I'm just sayin'...

Posted by Jen | July 16, 2007 10:35 PM

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