THE CONSCIOUSNESS INDUSTRY: On Literature, Politics, and the Media by Hans Magnus Enzensberger

THE CONSCIOUSNESS INDUSTRY: On Literature, Politics, and the Media

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The media -- although Enzensberger finds that term inadequate -- is pointedly analyzed along Marxist -- bona fide Marxist, not popular pseudo-Marxist -- lines. Enzensberger is an abstruse writer, and his work will be beyond the reach of the average reader. But his analyses of the avant-garde, the relation of literature to politics, the electronic media, and their connection to a genuine cultural revolution (not the Mao variety), while taxing, are worth the effort. Enzensberger disputes the superficial views of the liberal left and the New Left concerning art and communication. Poetry, for example, cannot be written to promote a historical necessity, given the simple fact that the future is not knowable: the ""avant-garde"" is a ""bluff."" Whatever revolution occurs must be more than political, must be a revolution of consciousness, in which the media itself becomes autonomous. Most ""Marxists"" see the problem of communications as one of simple ""manipulation""; it is refreshing to find one who recognizes that the tenets of historical materialism must be revised (yes, revised) to apply to ""the consciousness industry.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1974
Publisher: Seabury