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Why Marx Was Right by Terry Eagleton

Roger Caldwell is unconvinced by Terry Eagleton’s loyal support for Marx.

When British literary theorist Professor Terry Eagleton’s Criticism and Ideology appeared in 1976, the intellectual scene in Europe was dominated by the New Left, and Marx was seen as the indisputable reference-point. In France the likes of Sartre and Lévi-Strauss had declared themselves Marxists, and Althusser had developed his own brand of structural Marxism. Figures like Benjamin and Brecht, Lukács and Adorno, with their varying and sometimes esoteric takes on Marxism, were required reading in continental philosophy. The memories and hopes of 1968 had not yet been extinguished, and the New (or by now Newish) Left was triumphant, confident that it had, as Eagleton puts it, ‘History in its pocket’.

In fact this intellectual hubris was to be short-lived.

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