Marxist Literary Theory And Criticism Essay

1718 words - 7 pages

Marxism is a revolutionary movement aiming at creating a world of equal social classes, in which the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat are equally sharing the means of production and property. Karl Marx's theory is purely socio-economic, however Marx and his friend Engels wrote some personal observations and comments on contemporary and ancient literature, sporadically through their socio-economic books and articles or their letters.Literature, in all its forms, to Marx, is part of the superstructure that is formed by the Base. Literature, along with the other conventions and institutions in the Superstructure, express and promote the ideology of the Base. The Ideology preserves and works on maintaining the Status Quo of the Base. Literature then is a mirror of the society, promoting the ideology of the Base and is not involved or used to change this social reality. However, later Marxist critics viewed literature as being a major dynamic tool used by both classes to express and stimulate their beliefs.Engels believe that a work of art should mirror the society, regardless of the picture it portrays, whether with or against the beliefs of the author. In a letter to the author of Die Alten und die Neuen (The old ones and the new), Minna Kautsky, he little expressed appreciation of the literary value of the novel; however he emphasized on the content of the novel:You obviously felt a desire to take a public stand in your book, to testify to your convictions before the entire world. This has now been done; it is a stage you have passed through and need not repeat in this form. I am by no means opposed to partisan poetry as such. Both Aeschylus, the father of tragedy, and Aristophanes, the father of comedy, were highly partisan poets...I think however that the purpose must become manifest from the situation and the action themselves without being expressly pointed out and that the author does not have to serve the reader on a platter -- the future historical resolution of the social conflicts which he describes (Engels)This notion of promoting Marxism or Communism through art lead to the invention of Socialist-Realism, a term suggesting that an artist should commit him/herself to the Proletariat and their cause. However the artists did not follow Engels's advice by not expressing one's ideas and ideals explicitly, but rather implicitly. Those artists were called the smithy poets, whose works had a good content (regarding the Marxist beliefs) but had a very low literary value. Socialist-Realism however required Optimism, meaning to write progressive novels that would lead people into believing in the Communist cause and revolting against the repressive powers. But little of these works affected the masses the way they were supposed to; while other works that are written for other purposes and by disbelievers in Marxism affected the masses and lead some individuals to believe in Communism (Dostoyevsky's works and Tolstoy). (Cuddon 492)The earliest Marxist...

Find Another Essay On Marxist Literary Theory and Criticism

Marxist Theory and Oedipus the King

1345 words - 5 pages Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. 3rd ed. 25 Oct. 2000 Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Trans. Paul M. Sweeny. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998. Rideneir. "The Sociology of Knowledge." Marxist Theory of Class Struggles.1 Nov. 2000 Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus. Norton Critical ed. Trans. Luci Berkowitz and Theodore F. Brunner. New York: Norton, 1970. Tischler, Henry L. Introduction to Sociology. 6th ed. Orlando, Florida:  Harcourt, 1999.    

Understanding Piaget’s Theory and Current Criticism

1299 words - 5 pages Several years ago, an insightful and profound man, Jean Piaget, established a theory of cognitive growth during childhood. This theory was viewed as a major model for understanding the intricate steps of mental development from the thinking to understanding for a child. This theory also gave rise to the mentality that cognitive processes during childhood are not minuscule versions of adults but rather an irrational yet unique process with its

Satire and Hypocrisy: Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk

689 words - 3 pages Satire and Hypocrisy: Literary Criticism of Lewis’ The Monk In her essay "Satire in The Monk: Exposure and Reformation", Campbell strives to portray Matthew Lewis' The Monk as a work that is full of and dependent upon satire, yet marks a significant departure from the tradition thereof. Campbell asserts that satire "forcibly exposes an essential quality of an institution, class, etc., which individuals associated with the ridiculed body have

Unified Uncertainty and the Auteur Theory of Film Criticism

1219 words - 5 pages Unified Uncertainty and the Auteur Theory There are no rules and regulations when it comes to creativity. The imagination of the artist and the creator determine what guidelines to follow, but that freedom consequently creates controversy when the piece needs to be evaluated for its true value. When French film director Francois Truffaut advocated the Auteur theory in 1954, it greatly influenced film criticism. The Auteur theory states that

Literary Theory and African Am

1239 words - 5 pages referring to a sentiment of tremendous hopelessness. Very few African American intellectuals have talked, or written, about Post-Modernism. In J.F. Loytard?s book ?the Post-Modern Condition?, he confronts the lack of recognition of black presence that much Post-Modernist theory reinscribes and the resistance on the part of most black people to hearing about real connections between Post-Modernism and black experience. (Loytard 24). The overall impact

Literary Criticism Essay for Beauty and the Beast

1192 words - 5 pages At every moment in the brain, messages travel from neuron to neuron by jumping from terminal branches to dendrites and speeding down axons to create thoughts and ideas that fuel emotions and actions. Fairy tales become messages and float from neuron to neuron in the brain to generate images of unrealistic worlds filled with castles guarded by dragons, Fairy God Mothers who grant your every wish and genies who arrive out of lamps only to cause

Marxist Theory and Class Relations in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

1050 words - 5 pages Within the text of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson portrays a complex power struggle between Dr. Jekyll, a respected individual within Victorian London society, and Mr. Hyde a villainous man tempted with criminal urges, fighting to take total control of their shared body. While Dr. Jekyll is shown to be well-liked by his colleagues, Mr. Hyde is openly disliked by the grand majority of those who encounter him

Literary criticism and anlysis of "Richard Cory," "I'm nobody! Who are you?," and "We wear the mask."

1565 words - 6 pages Never judge a book by its cover. Appearances can greatly deviate from what is hidden on the inside. "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson, "We wear the mask" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, and "I'm nobody! Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson each give examples of appearances in contrast to reality. Robinson's "Richard Cory" is essentially about a man who is set upon a golden pedestal by others and due to his suppressed sadness, kills himself. "We

"Sisterly Bond" - on Amy Tan's "The Hundred Secret Senses." Analysis of literary criticism and summary of book.

1030 words - 4 pages being not believable and not nearly as good as her first novel, it is, nevertheless, and immensely enjoyable novel. Her characters, especially Kwan, are unique and unforgettable. The Hundred Secret Senses is one of my favorite books not only because some critics called it a "literary masterpiece" but because of the deep and meaningful morals contained within it.

Marxist Criticism

1343 words - 5 pages possible to make a rough comparison between the Marxist model of base and superstructure and the Freudian model of unconscious and conscious. Works Cited Eagleton, Terry. Marxism and Literary Criticism. London: Metheun Books, 1976. Selden, Ramden. A Reader's Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1985. Williams, Raymond. Marxism and Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

A Critical Look at Marxism in Literature

1131 words - 5 pages of the text. (240)Another problem with Marxism, in general, is that it was not originally a literary theory, but a sociological and philosophical explanation of society and direction for social movement. "Marxist literary theory and criticism is a twentieth-century phenomenon" (Bressler 211). Marx let little be known of the relationship between his ideas and literature. He spoke infrequently of language, "Language is as old as consciousness

Similar Essays

The Importance Of Distinction In Literary Theory And Criticism

1385 words - 6 pages Szeman). The boundaries between the two, criticism and theory, blur according to Groden et al, however the boundary between their approaches is much more distinguishable. New Criticism and Marxist theory are examples of two different approaches to literary criticism. Both approaches share the same objective, in that they look to better understand literature, but their paths diverge on how exactly they go about this. It is the disparity between the

The Wrapped Golf Ball: A Marxist Literary Criticism

1256 words - 5 pages The philosopher Karl Marx once said, “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness” (Marx). Marx argues that social circumstances determine one’s value and belief. Therefore, in his short story “Winter Dreams”, F. Scott Fitzgerald supports this Marxist theory by exposing that the proletariat is oppressed by the bourgeoisie’s ideology that the goal of

Marxist Theory And Sport Essay

1538 words - 6 pages This essay will be an attempt to bring together the ideas from our class readings about the Marxist sociological perspective as well as insight from other readings to further my understanding of Marxism and its applications to sport. I will lay the groundwork for the theory then proceed with how his theory is applied to accessibility issues in sport, distribution of power in sport and commercialization of sport. Basics of Marxist Theory The

Feminist Literary Criticism And Lysistrata Essay

1835 words - 7 pages in his book Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, asserts that observing the female characters in works by men is important because it provides “role models which indicated to women, and men, what constituted acceptable version of the ‘feminine’ and legitimate feminine goals and aspirations” (122). Looking into the roles of the women within the works helps us determine the kind of role women and men occupy in relation