Two new books attempt but seem like entries in a dying genre.
Why Marx Was Right By Terry Eagleton (Yale University Press, 258 pp., $25) How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism By Eric Hobsbawm (Yale University Press, 470 pp., $35) An intellectual revival of Marxism is one of the predictable consequences of the financial crisis. In the twenty years before the storm broke, the Marxisant intelligentsia was more marginal in politics and culture than it had ever been.
Sometimes it's tough to know who's dumber: Glenn Beck or Terry Eagleton. My money, for what it's worth, is on the latter. Via Norm Geras comes news of perhaps the dumbest thing written about the World Cup this year. Step forward Professor Eagleton in - where else? - The Guardian: If the Cameron government is bad news for those seeking radical change, the World Cup is even worse. It reminds us of what is still likely to hold back such change long after the coalition is dead.
Holy Terror By Terry Eagleton (Oxford University Press, 148 pp., $22) Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism By Robert A. Pape (University of Chicago Press, 335 pp., $25.95) The first and often the only thing one knows about a suicide bomber is that he is someone with more to die for than to live for. That such a person would make use of his readiness to suffer quickly, horribly, and finally is not a recent development in the history of nations. Nor does it exhibit a peculiarly modern form of radical evil.
After Theory By Terry Eagleton (Basic Books, 231 pp., $25) I. When I attended Cambridge in the mid-1980s, "theory" was sickly ripe. What looked like its fiercest flush of life, the red of its triumph, was in fact the unnatural coloring of fever. Paul de Man had just died, Harold Bloom was preparing his second career as a weak misreader of Clifton Fadiman, Roland Barthes was gone, the Yale gang of deconstructionists was breaking up, and much postmodern silliness among the signifiers was just around the corner.