Can a Marxist Critic Be ‘Distinguished’?

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In a recent issue of the New York Review of Books, Fintan O’Toole, an Irish literary journalist, writes of “the distinguished Marxist critic Terry Eagleton.” How does one determine who is “distinguished”? In my view you can’t be distinguished if you are a Marxist critic, because Marxism is an ossified way of thinking. Perhaps Mr. O’Toole means that Mr. Eagleton, the author of more than 40 books, is distinguished because he is a well-known intellectual in Great Britain.

“Distinguished” is rather ambiguous. One dictionary defines…



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