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

Affect in the Present 1 1. The Clinton Affair and National Interest. Two Girls, Fat and Thin 5.

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It’s not that my love died, but that it has burned to a kind of Derridan cinder from the bellows of constant affront, and stoking it back up seems an awful lot of work. Reblogged berlantt on synthetic zero.

Thank you for your wonderful article it really helped me a lot. Title of the journal article or book chapter and title of journal or title of book 3. Aug 01, Tamara rated it really liked it. 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.

Turns out CK will let me publish that though not the edited CK versionso you get a preview. 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. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.


Berlant’s argument tends to become convoluted in the chapters, especially when she is not conducting object analysis. The introduction has promise. Jun 04, Devon rated it it was amazing.

You must obtain permission directly from the owner of the image. View all 4 comments. I developed a cruel optimistic relation with the book itself and with my process of reading theory in general, which the book generously gave me the tools to defuse.

It brings out my queerness to think of living not only as self-extension but also as a process that interferes with the drama of the self…. It took a year. Jan 13, Eliot Fiend rated it really liked it. Really excellent in light of the global recession and diminished economic opportunities for already-marginalized people–the poor, the young, people of color, queer people, disabled people.

Ep. 27 – Lauren Berlant, Cruel Optimism – Always Already Podcast

Berlant’s Cruel Optimism Some terms are explained later than one might expect in chapter six, but used throughout. Email required Address never made public.

Too many analyses of movies I’ve never seen and books I’ve never read. It’s not getting us anywhere, but it’s taking up our entire horizon of concern and the circumstances and being shuffled too quickly for us to find our footing.

I recommend reading Cruel Optimism in small doses, both to be able to fully immerse yourself in Berlant’s unique prose and to allow yourself a break from her exceptional skill at making you feel exactly what the characters in the films or books she is analyzing are feeling. Rhetorical critics will find the relation opimism the impasse and genre particularly compelling.

If you would like to authenticate using a different lauten institution that llauren Shibboleth authentication or have your own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’. Cruel Optimism is a remarkable affective history of the present. 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.


Other reviewers here seem to be dwelling on the work’s supposed pessimism Berla An absolutely religious, full-body experience.

People have remained attached to una A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing. Thanks to Hanna for suggesting this text. If book has an editor that is different from the article author, include editor’s name also. Some 3 Holy mother of god academia-speak rating: Berlant does not go into detail on how she selects the specific works she discusses in each chapter of the book, which also makes for an incredibly eclectic if at times disorienting archive.

Yes, the University of Chicago professor will break down everything you cduel dear: After the Good Life, an Impasse: How does Berlant define “cruel optimism”? My only reservation is the last chapter on contemporary art isn’t as nuanced as the others. So I scrapped it all, and tried to develop a new reading process. A total sensory awakening and a call to arms for the politically or just generally depressed.

Paragraphs often open with conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs, other signaling phrases: The essentially optimistic The Mushroom at the End of the World was my prior un-capitalist touchstone, describing how people can survive at the fringe of the capital marketplace.

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. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.