A Reading Note

“Criticism,” in its Enlightenment sense, consists in recounting to someone what is awry with their situation, from an external, perhaps “transcendental” vantage-point. “Critique” is that form of discourse which seeks to inhabit the experience of the subject from the inside, in order to elicit those “valid” features of that experience which point beyond the subject’s present condition. “Criticism” instructs currently innumerate men and women that the acquisition of mathematical knowledge is an excellent cultural goal; “critique” recognizes that they will achieve such knowledge quickly enough if their wage packets are at stake.

Eagleton, Ideology, page xxiii

In other words, from-the-heavens versus on-the-ground. In reality I think the division here is often less clear-cut, but I won’t argue with a good metaphor.

Related books