PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
News and Notes
The PN Review Prize 2017 - Now Open!
ENGLISH PEN: time to join!
English PEN relies on the support of its members and subscribers. read more
Most Read... Alejandro Fernandez-OsorioPomace (trans. James Womack)
(PN Review 236)
Kei MillerIn the Shadow of Derek Walcott
1930–2017

(PN Review 235)
Kate BinghamPuddle
(PN Review 236)
Drew MilneTom Raworth’s Writing
‘present past improved’: Tom Raworth’s Writing

(PN Review 236)
Daniel Kaneon Ted Berrigan
(PN Review 169)
David Herdin Conversation with John Ashbery
(PN Review 99)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Gratis Ad 1
Gratis Ad 2
Next Issue Meet Michael Edwards at the Brasserie Lipp David Herman reads Milosz's life Sumita Chakraborty's five poems Judith Wilson's encounter with Giovanni Pascoli Simon Armitage revives Branwell Bronte

This review is taken from PN Review 87, Volume 19 Number 1, September - October 1992.

REVIEWS
MODERN TRAGEDY
Perry Anderson, English Questions (Verso) £39.95, £12:95 pb
Perry Anderson, A Zone of Engagement (Verso) £39.95, £12.95 pb

In 1917, or even in 1970, a different scenario for the end of the century might have seemed credible: one in which some beneficent form of socialism swept over the world, a decayed and discredited capitalism collapsing before it. Even in the 1980s, the advent of Gorbachev produced hopes that the Soviet Union might change in such a way as to realize some of the hopes originally invested in it. It was not to be. Now socialism can look rather as Christianity looked to Thomas Hardy in the post-Victorian twilight; at best, the object of a vague, sentimental aspiration: 'Hoping it might be so'.

It is in this conjuncture that Perry Anderson's essays appear. The essays themselves cover a span of nearly 30 years, the earliest dated 1964, the latest ones 1992. Anderson has been a significant figure on the British intellectual Left. His position in regard to English society has been that of an inside outsider: educated at Eton, he is of what he himself, in the Foreword to English Questions, calls 'residual Anglo-Irish' origins, and it is perhaps relevant to observe that in 'The Figures of Descent', he points out that the 'neediest and least reputable branch of the [gentry] class, its Anglo-Irish extension, provided most of Britain's leading commanders down even to a century later, in a line stretching from Wellington to Roberts, Kitchener to Alanbrooke, Montgomery to Templer'. Anderson's own command skills were applied not to the battlefield but to another site of ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image