Lauren Berlant, Moishe Postone, and Michael Silverstein were colleagues at the University of Chicago for over thirty years. Postone was one of the leading Marxist thinkers in the world; Silverstein was the leading linguistic anthropologist of his generation; and Berlant was the most influential literary theorist of her generation. This article examines whether Marxism, semiotic linguistics, and literary studies are compatible. However, the author will go back to the “linguistic turn” and revisit some older debates about the role of rhetoric. But a revitalized rhetoric of temporality will answer the questions that Benedict Anderson raised almost forty years ago: How do the temporalities of capital and narration interact to create new social affects and emotions? What would a Marxist approach to a semiotic linguistics of affect and subjectivity look like?

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