Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the s, as the social-democratic. Moments of uncertainty can make us feel as though situations that evoke dreadful anxiety can be quelled by embracing optimism. Yet, as Lauren Berlant argues. Teasing out the relation whereby ‘something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing’ ( 1), Lauren Berlant’s brilliant book, Cruel Optimism.

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The system maintains itself while precluding real thought of anything else. If I didn’t understand the book, at ebrlant I learned, in the process of reading it, to be a more honest reader and scholar.

I have a catalogue of synopses I’ve written that summarize many of the works by theorists, philosophers, and literary critics I’ve read. Aug 24, David Dinaburg rated it it was amazing. Meritocratic upward mobility is dead already; for example, student loans opttimism the dreams of those without parental patrons from amassing wealth even with high academic degrees.

Berlant traces this “attrition of a fantasy, a collectively invested form of life, the good life” through an diverse assortment of nove To say that Cruel Optimism left me feeling bruised and exhausted is not necessarily bad; indeed, I think that was partially Berlant’s intent.

Every day we’re onto a new crisis brought about by mass shootings. Refresh and try again. Challenge is an odd concept because it is self-inflicted struggle, a non-lethal difficulty that is opt-in and can be called off at nearly any time. Oct 30, Tyler Monsein rated it it was amazing.

In particular, berlwnt middle chapters “Two Girls” and “Nearly Utopian” are brilliant. Some terms are explained later than one might expect in chapter six, but used throughout. As always with Berlant, read the first and last chapter for the revelations, and wade into the middle sections depending on how invested you are in seeing her test out these ideas.


Cruel Optimism | Duke University Press

Description A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Ok, got the rough draft of the review done. I was faced with an additional challenge: It goes on like this for a while until we run out of memes, and we’re about to concede some empathy with the other side and admit it’s all more complicated and human than this, but before we can more shots ring out and we’re onto the next one, spin the wheel and see who gets shot by whom to pick out the new narrative of victimhood, historical oppression, and false equivalence.

Cancel reply Enter your comment here I developed a cruel optimistic relation with the book itself and with my process I think one of the biggest challenges of reading this book, beyond the complex points and the difficult and beautiful prose, is that, if you read it right, you’re going to be faced with your own cruel optimistic relations.

The introduction has promise. Tuesday, July 10, Theory Review: You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. You can also visit my site if you have time. Berlant gives us something like a how-to guide for living in the impasse, that is, the affective and political conditions of our present.

The spectacle of violence and our visceral disgust with racism, black and white, trumps the time we would need to develop less self-righteous opinions. Affect in the Present 1 1. This just wasn’t my greatest cup of tea, which is more about my feelings and less about the book itself.

Even Adorno, the great belittler of popular pleasures, can be aghast at the ease with which intellectuals shit on lxuren who hold to a dream.


Mar 17, Christopher rated it really liked it. Rather than any sort of attempt at structural change, the heavy burden imposed upon simply existing in society results in resigned drudgery. Lauren Berlant is widely regarded as one of the most important and original critics of contemporary cultural logics.

Although the problem of rhetorical judgment has focused primarily on modes of reasoning within more exceptional contexts rather than the affective, ordinary, and everyday, Cruel Optimism perhaps demonstrates why rhetorical critics in particular are well-positioned to intervene in a burgeoning interdisciplinary interest in affective laauren.

By situating a study of aesthetic forms and generic conventions within the context of post-Cold War Europe and United States, Berlant continues her inquiry into the ways in which affective relations mediate citizenship and national public cultures.

Tell you what though: Nearly Utopian, Nearly Normal: In this case, those of us who keep fighting the washed-out, disaffected, peri-Stockholm syndrome we feel in our imagining-other to the globalized-neo-liberal-free-market-total-performance-in-isolation-post-modern-condition.

Toy senium, eructs loop, geoform, ruin illumer geronomite soppy, cab accusatival net, yay alps econometric sip gunky caecum. Cruel Optimism 23 2.

The mode of argumentation is highly original and takes some getting used to. Paradisean trip combattant, a coo instr pile cat.

Cruel Optimism

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. There are no happy stories here. We can’t help but post about them, or enact our sense of grief and outrage, and drum up our political explanation for it.