||Trenchant and panoramic, The Origins of Postmodernity traces the genesis, consolidation and consequences of the notion of the postmodern. Beginning its exhilarating intellectual tour in the Hispanic world of the 1930s, it follows the changes in the meanings and usage of the concept through to the late 1970s, when its adoption by Jean-François Lyotard and Jürgen Habermas first gave the idea of postmodernism wider currency.
Central attention then falls on Fredric Jameson, whose work today represents the most outstanding general theory of the postmodern. Reconstructing the intellectual and political background of Jameson's interpretation of the present, The Origins of Postmodernity looks at its aftereffects in the debates of the 1990s.
Anderson enriches his much-cited analysis of modernism by placing postmodernism in the force field of a déclassé bourgeoisie, the growth of mediatized technology and the historic global defeat of the left symbolized by the end of the Cold War. Rigorously pursuing his interpretation of postmodernism as the cultural logic of a multinational capitalism "complacent beyond precedent," Anderson ends with a set of historical reflections on the fading of modernism, shifts in the system of the arts, the rise of the spectacular, debates on the "end of art," and on the fate of politics in the postmodern world.
Perry Anderson is editor of New Left Review. He is the author of many books, including Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism, Lineages of the Absolutist State, Considerations on Western Marxism, Arguments Within English Marxism, In the Tracks of Historical Materialism, English Questions and A Zone of Engagement, all from Verso. His works have been translated into twenty languages.