Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form

Sianne Ngai (Author)
Available

Product Details

Price
$35.00
Publisher
Belknap Press
Publish Date
June 16, 2020
Pages
416
Dimensions
6.1 X 9.2 X 1.5 inches | 1.65 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780674984547

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About the Author

Sianne Ngai is Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Ugly Feelings and Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting, winner of the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize. Her work has been translated into multiple languages, and she has received fellowships from the Institute of Advanced Study in Berlin and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Reviews

Theory of the Gimmick is a masterpiece--a culmination of the dazzling project begun in Sianne Ngai's Ugly Feelings and elaborated in Our Aesthetic Categories, both celebrated books that have anchored affect theory to a strong account of tone and form. It is a major advance in aesthetic theory, and Marxist theory in particular, one that could help us all get over our Frankfurt melancholy and down to the garrulous work of actually naming the dynamics that produce art and artistic judgment under capitalism.--Christopher Nealon, author of The Matter of Capital
It is the simplicity and vernacular quality of Sianne Ngai's central concept that elevates this book to a classic in the making. Ngai's most important contribution to Marxist cultural and economic theory comes from her insight that--like the judgment of the beautiful for Kant--the gimmick is a subjective category, neither cognitive nor ethical, but historical through and through. The gimmick is a way to bring together the theory of the commodity with Kant's category of judgment. Through Ngai, we are able to vernacularize Marx and to understand the most basic but enigmatic proposition: that truth and appearance are identical in the commodity.--Timothy Bewes, author of Reification: Or, The Anxiety of Late Capitalism
Books of this ambition and accomplishment are rare! Theory of the Gimmick continues the work of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and others in seriously putting together aesthetic theory and Marxist theories of capital. In an impossibly erudite, wide-ranging, and theoretically sophisticated argument, Ngai gives us a unique insight into the relationship between labor, time, and value in a capitalist economy. This book is a major event in American intellectual life.--Jonathan Flatley, author of Affective Mapping: Melancholia and the Politics of Modernism