Marxism and Literary Criticism
Marxist literary criticism is becoming increasingly important in Europe as a whole, and interest in the subject is rapidly growing in this country. In this book, Dr. Eagleton analyses the major issues that the subject presents, discussing the writing of Marx and Engels themselves and the work of such critics as Plekhanov, Trotsky, Lenin, Lukacs, Goldmann, Caudwell, Benjamin and Brecht. They are seen from four viewpoints central to Marxist thought: the relation of literature to history, the problem of 'form' and 'content' in literature, the question of literature and political commitment, and the importance of production and technology in art. Dr. Eagleton's exploration of these critical stances throws useful light on the connection between the Marxist approach and structuralism. The author stresses, however, that Marxist criticism cannot be seen simply in academic terms. In his preface he rejects the illusion of 'neutrality' in such a field, and writes: 'Marxist criticism is part of a larger body of theoretical analysis which aims to understand ideologies--the ideas, values and feelings by which men experience their societies at various times. And certain of those ideas, values and feelings are available to us only in literature. To understand ideologies is to understand both the past and the present more deeply, and such understanding contributes to our liberation.' Dr. Eagleton shows the part that Marxist criticism has to play in defining the crucial link between literature and historical conditions, and in so doing has produced a book that is both constructive and committed.
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I've been revisiting my old college textbooks lately, looking for new ways to think about books. Eagleton's "Marxism and Literary Criticism" is as good a place to start this sort of project as any. He ... Read full review
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alienation argues artistic form artistic production Balzac Bertolt Brecht bourgeois ideology bourgeois theatre capitalism Caudwell Caudwell's character commitment complex concept concrete conflict consciousness contradiction culture determining dialectical dramatic economic base embodies Engels's English Marxist criticism epic Erwin Piscator essay experience fact fiction form and content formalist Georg Lukacs Georgy Plekhanov Goldmann grasp Greek Hegel human ideas Illusion individual Left Review Lenin Leon Trotsky literary criticism literary form literary text Literature and Revolution London Lucien Goldmann Lukacs's Marx and Engels Marx's material means merely mirror mode of production nature object particular partisanship Pierre Macherey Plekhanov poem political position productive forces proletarian Proletkult question Raymond Williams reality reflection relations between artist relationship reveals Russian Russian Formalism sense significant social product social relations socialist realism Sociology of Literature stage structure techniques theory Tolstoy tradition transformation truth typical understanding vulgar Marxist Walter Benjamin Waste Land whole world vision writer