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A man among the ruins?

Monday, 3 Feb 2014

Lars Iyer’s book - Exodus on Staff and Scrip, Dr John Dunn First posted on Friday, 22 March 2013 at 20:10

I read in the Times Literary Supplement today a review of Lars Iyer’s book - Exodus. It is about the futility of intellectual life under capitalism. The review quotes a superb extract from Exodus (below), which sums up beautifully the age of cultural and artistic decline in which we live.

The only issue I have is that I suspect the author is decrying the current ‘end time’ from the left, from the rather limited view that the last traces of worthwhile modernist antagonism coincided with what Iyler would think of as the golden age of intellectual life in the universities of the post-war boom years. The reality we face today, however, the apocalypse for fiction, as he would have it, the raw nakedness of capitalism that destroys everything of artistic value, is nothing but the accelerated continuum of the cultural decline introduced by the victorious liberalism of the postwar years, with which the universities were partners in crime.

Whether I am right or wrong about Iyer’s politics, it looks as though consciously or not, Iyer is making the case for traditionalism being the only radicalism left in a nightmare world increasingly dominated by the principles of global corporate HR.

John Dunn.

“Literature has become a pantomime of itself ... prose has become another product: pleasurable, notable, exquisite, laborious, respected, but always small”. Long past the point of exhaustion, all that remains of the literary author is to mark “the absence of Hope, of Belief, of Commitments, of high-flown Seriousness”, and to write instead about “a kind of hope that was once possible as Literature, as Politics, as Life, but that is no longer possible for us”.
From Lars Iyer, Exodus, Melville House, 2013. Quoted in the TLS 15th March, 2013.

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