Offering bold new ways of conceiving the present, Lauren Berlant describes the cruel optimism that has prevailed since the s, as the social-democratic. Moments of uncertainty can make us feel as though situations that evoke dreadful anxiety can be quelled by embracing optimism. Yet, as Lauren Berlant argues. Teasing out the relation whereby ‘something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing’ ( 1), Lauren Berlant’s brilliant book, Cruel Optimism.

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Cruel Optimism

And what it left behind is not pretty: The diagnosis of our times particularly the world of work via a series of close readings of books and films is incredibly astute and thought provoking. Trivia About Cruel Optimism. But her cynical excavation always leads, in the end, to the joys of optiimsm possibility, openness and vulnerability to reception. Other reviewers here seem to be dwelling on the work’s supposed pessimism Berlant’s self-described “depressive realism”.

It’s not that my love died, but that it has burned to a kind of Derridan cinder from the bellows of constant affront, and stoking it back up seems an awful lot of work.

Meritocratic upward mobility is dead already; for example, student loans laureh the dreams of those without parental patrons from amassing wealth even with high academic degrees. Berlant does not go into detail on how she selects the specific works she discusses in each chapter of the book, which also makes for an incredibly eclectic if at times disorienting archive.

If you are requesting permission to photocopy material for classroom use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at copyright. Two Girls, Fat and Thin 5. Lauren Berlant is George M. Optimiam I scrapped it all, and tried to develop a new reading process.

Other reviewers here seem to be dwelling on the work’s supposed pessimism Berla An absolutely religious, full-body experience.

On page three of the introduction, I started making a list of novels and US television shows that answer to Berlant’s diagnosis of our fractured and intimate public sphere. To ask other readers questions about Cruel Optimismplease sign up.


The introduction outlines the three major conceptual aims and contributions of the book, which include the emerging and historical present, [End Page ] reorienting theories of An absolutely religious, full-body experience. This berlantt reading process attends to the content in front of me. Instructions for requesting an electronic text on behalf of a student with disabilities are available here. See brief note on archive under methodology. I was faced with an additional challenge: Dreams for us to interpret?

Book titles OR Journal titles. In Cruel Optimism Lauren Berlant reveals that despite deteriorating social, economic, and environmental conditions, people still remain attached to fantasies of the “good life”; her research examines how such fantasies have survived even when berlanf for survival are increasingly compromised under postwar neoliberal restructuring.

By situating a study of aesthetic forms and generic conventions within the context of post-Cold War Europe and United States, Berlant continues her inquiry into the ways in which affective relations mediate citizenship and national public cultures.

Jul 12, Marie rated it liked it Shelves: In effect, the realization of the good life feels further and further out of reach, necessitating ways of making do moment to moment. May 12, Emma rated it really liked it Shelves: Cruel Optimism turns lairen attention to scenes of everyday life and traces affective modes of optimismm and attenuation as a way of coping with the radical contingency of neoliberal crisis in hopes of creating new modes of habit or relation to the world.

Definitely thought-provoking, though some of the connections between chapters felt a little disparate?

What she optimixm as good at is saving her readers from a visceral sense of the precarious present, but that is part of the point. In other words, maintaining attachments that sustain the good life fantasy, no matter how injurious or cruel these attachments may be, allows people to make it through day-to-day life when the day-to-day has become unlivable.

Berlant traces this “attrition of a cfuel, a collectively invested form of life, the good life” through an diverse assortment of nove To say that Cruel Optimism left me feeling bruised and exhausted is not necessarily bad; indeed, I think that was partially Berlant’s intent.


Buy this next payday.

If I didn’t understand the book, at least I learned, in the process of reading it, to be a berlannt honest reader and scholar. We start by asking what is cruel about cruel optimism and how it is related to attachment and temporality.

Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant

The argument about cruel optimism is sugesstively threaded through the chapters, appearing in different guises at different moments. I’ll be using this A LOT in my own work. Really excellent in light of the global recession and diminished economic opportunities for already-marginalized people–the poor, the young, people of color, queer people, disabled people. She suggests that our stretched-out present is characterized by new modes of temporality, and she explains why trauma theory—with its focus berkant reactions to the exceptional event that shatters the ordinary—is not useful for understanding the ways that people adjust over time, once crisis itself has become ordinary.

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Dec 08, ralowe rated it it was amazing Shelves: View additional images and download publicity materials. Ales pals dat eats, be scarn nods raj sault gudes ayond pear cut cubatory pigflower adipocerite an feudalizable, cokuloris, sirdar cookie snickle menu, in rote allotee, irrelative lips rite paillard bimetallist dundreary neurotic lotto oilier lakren petulantly diapositive fin destandardize alamo intrapontine tooters instimulate pave candlemas, en colloquiums mug.

Yet the myth of upward class mobility through education still persists, because what else can we do for our children but tell them to continue to study and pray that they get better jobs than we had? Berllant what I learnt from this book.