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Stainless Steel Banana Slicer

David Trotter, 18 March 2021

Theory of the Gimmick: Aesthetic Judgment and Capitalist Form 
by Sianne Ngai.
Harvard, 401 pp., £28.95, June 2020, 978 0 674 98454 7
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... a commodity’s existence as an ordinary, sensuous thing.The gimmick is an ideal topic for Sianne Ngai, a critic and theorist with a habit, as she puts it, of hanging large coats on small pegs. Her field of research is the relation between aesthetics and ideology, viewed from a post-Marxist perspective, and she has already made two strikingly ...

Giant Eye Watching

Adam Thirlwell: Pola Oloixarac, 10 February 2022

by Pola Oloixarac, translated by Adam Morris.
Serpent’s Tail, 192 pp., £12.99, February, 978 1 78816 988 2
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... also to find some kind of hopefulness through it.Another term for the novel of ideas, according to Sianne Ngai, is the gimmick: ‘We might define the novel of ideas precisely by its intimate relation to the gimmick form.’ Certainly it’s difficult to let ideas flourish in a novel – in direct addresses to the reader, or in characters’ speeches ...

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