- The Ballad of Marxist Criticism (to the tune of “Say Something Stupid Like I Love You”)
The day I found Dick Hoggart was a populist reformist sentimentalist Nostalgic petty-bourgeois social democrat subjectivist empiricist I saw the light of day, I turned to Ray, my structure of feeling it was born anew Until I went and spoiled it all by writing something stupid in New Left Review
Well then I read some Lukács that was fine I toed the line about totality And since I was a prole it stirred my soul to know my consciousness could set men free I was ignorant of Scott but who was not it didn’t matter Georgy was my man That dirty-low-down formalistic Stalinist historicist Hegelian
Well things were getting schlecht I turned to Brecht and Piscator and Walter Benjamin Productive forces shock verfremdung contradiction, baby it was just my scene Though Benjamin was swell well what the hell who could admire as his main theorist An adjacentist eclectic individualist technologistic humanist? You may talk of Adorno but I don’t know it’s pretty tortuous and gloomy stuff And Jameson is fine but to imbibe it after wine just leaves you feeling rough [End Page v]
Well I was in a spin I couldn’t win so I waxed slightly semiological Till digging out deep structures was denounced by Macheray as metaphysical Though Althusser is smart his views on art and ideology don’t ring quite true So hello Helen Gardner Donald Davie Denis Donoghue, I love you.
Terry Eagleton writes plays for Irish theater and lives in Dublin. He is also Thomas Warton Professor of English at Oxford University.