Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One

Representing Capital: A Reading of Volume One

Fredric Jameson

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 1844674541

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Representing Capital, Fredric Jameson’s first book-length engagement with Marx’s magnum opus, is a unique work of scholarship that records the progression of Marx’s thought as if it were a musical score. The textual landscape that emerges is the setting for paradoxes and contradictions that struggle toward resolution, giving rise to new antinomies and a new forward movement. These immense segments overlap each other to combine and develop on new levels in the same way that capital itself does, stumbling against obstacles that it overcomes by progressive expansions, which are in themselves so many leaps into the unknown.



















contradictions that suggest an impending or distant collapse of capitalism itself. Indeed, it will not be necessary, for any satisfactory concept of the transition to capitalism, to posit a unified description of feudalism at all—and this for reasons of temporality which we will confront later on. At any rate it is the idea of a transitional period from which capitalism emerges that will explain our incorporation here of an earlier chapter of Capital to which we have as yet not paid the attention

labor, in other words manufacture] attains a degree of consistency and extension, it becomes the conscious, methodical and systematic form of capitalist production. The history of manufacture proper shows how the division of labour which is peculiar to it acquires the most appropriate form atfirstby experience, as it were behind the backs of the actors, and then, like the guild handicrafts, strives to hold fast to that form once it has been found, and here and there succeeds in keeping it for

alternate modes of survival open to them under feudalism is any longer available, and it is this which necessarily drives them into the sole remaining option of wage labor. This type of social evolution takes place therefore not by virtue of some disembodied Hegelian essence called capitalism or the market, nor either by some psychological drive rooted in human nature, but rather by a systematic negation of everything which might have permitted an alternative to them; and this is the sense in

immobile characteristic" (287). The Hegelian overtones of Unruhe, which recall "the labour and the suffering of the negative," then alert us to the possibility that this figure of the extinction of the past is in fact designed . to produce a rather different figural evocation of the present. I quote the climax of this intricate development at the length it deserves: Therefore, whenever products enter as means of production into new labour processes, they lose their character of being products and

bodies through which its effects express themselves? Marx's spatial form—transmitted through his witnesses and the voices of those others who testify in dispassionate horror or pity—consists in the patient exploration of spaces, of the search for this ultimate reality of the unrepresentable, a search which more and more minute moves from statistics and regions to towns, streets, houses, rooms, and finally that last glimpse of the nothingness in the back room, blinding, unbearable, from which we

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