"While Cruel Optimism presumes an academic audience versed in critical theory and philosophy, it contains many crucial points of consideration for the entire LGBT community. Thirty years ago, the thought of marriage, adoption, and serving openly in the military was the dream of the boldest of optimistic LGBT activists." Chase Dimock, Lambda Literary, July 30th 2012 "This brilliant book will be much read, much loved, and much cited. Lauren Berlant is widely regarded as one of the most important and original critics of contemporary cultural logics. Here she offers a genuinely new angle on familiar processes through her subtle yet forceful reading of Cruel Optimism, the psychic and structural dynamics that keep people proximate to objects, fantasies, and worlds that seem to diminish them." Sara Ahmed, Goldsmiths', University of London and author of The Promise of Happiness and On Being Included "Cruel Optimism, Lauren Berlant's brilliant new book, lays bare the price of our habitual ways of thinking about subjectivity, temporality, affect, attachment, and political investment. Exploring the condition of precarity that mocks the good life (or at least the better life) that hard work and good behavior are supposed to make possible within liberal democracy, Cruel Optimism's bold analyses of the impasse of the present and its unflinching determination to follow a thought to its necessary end make clear why this is a crucial, indeed a necessary, book at this moment--and also why it will inform our critical discourse for years to come."--Lee Edelman, author of No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive "Lauren Berlant elegantly weaves together readings of contemporary art, literature, and film to reveal how our persistent aspirations for the good life are continually thwarted. Reading this book is an exciting theoretical experience but it also has a very practical, immediate, everyday quality. Berlant gives us something like a how-to guide for living in the impasse, that is, the affective and political conditions of our present."--Michael Hardt, co-author of Commonwealth
About the Author
Lauren Berlant is George M. Pullman Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She is the author of "The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture "and "The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship," both also published by Duke University Press, as well as "The Anatomy of National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life." She the editor of the books "Intimacy"; "Compassion: The Culture and Politics of an Emotion"; and (with Lisa Duggan) "Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and National Interest."