Craig Stroupe   Ideas 

Scholarship as Authorship

Critical writing like Fredric Jameson's passage about history can sometimes constitute a literary discourse in its own right--literary not just in the sense of stylishness, but as a fundamental aspect of how the writing achieves meaning.

In his book The Success and Failure of Frederic Jameson, Steven Helming observes:

...Jameson's importance as a culture-critic is less in his (supposed) conclusions or arguments than in the subtle and complicated mediations of his writing itself. Jameson's prose is masterful in its encyclopedic command of dauntingly complex materials, yet its effect is less of mastery than of being mastered, as if the predicaments of our historical moment are transmitting their force to every sentence he writes.... [Jameson] projects critique as an "impossible task," and insists that it be written in "dialectical sentences" that not merely analyze or expound, but enact, perform--indeed, suffer--the contradictions of their subject matter, the predicaments of society and culture in general, and the "inevitable failure" of the socialist tradition in particular. (3, 4).


Helming, Steven. The Success and Failure of Frederic Jameson: Writing, The Sublime, and the Dialectic of Critique. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001.