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Marxist Criticism

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Hana Yokoi

on 13 November 2013

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Transcript of Marxist Criticism

Main Concerns
Marxist Criticism
History of Marxist Criticism
Marxist Criticism originates from the studies and works of Karl Marx.
His landmark work, The Communist Manifesto (1848) signals the beginning of Marxist Thought and its application to literature. In the 1920s, after the Russian Revolution, Marxist Criticism became systematized as a school of criticism.
Thesis and Questions
"London" by William Blake
Karl Marx
Friedrich Engels
Notable Works
The Communist Manifesto
A Contribution to the Critique
of Political Economy
Capital: Critique of Political Economy
The October Revolution
Leon Trotsky
The Spread of Marxist Criticism
How the literary work reflects the social institution
Ideology
Economic structure
Social Inequalities
False consciousness
Normative views of society
Representation of class and class conflicts
Fate of character based on class
1818-1883
Born in Germany, Middle-Class, Studied in German Universities
Moved to Paris, writing for Radical Newspapers
In 1849, Exiled due to Radical Activities, Went to London and Would Die There.
Considered Major Architect in Social Science
What role does class play in the work?
What is the author's class relations?
How do characters overcome oppression?
Who was the audience?
What does the text suggest about the values of the audience?
What does the work say about oppression or are social conflicts ignored ?
1820-1895
Born in Germany, Upper-Class, Dropped out of High School
Spent Time in Britain, Eventually meeting Marx in Paris.
Became Marx's lifelong friend, collaborator, and financial supporter
Rise against institutions
Key features of Capitalist society
Marx's notes: “In capitalist society, an economic minority, dominate and exploit the working class majority”.
Army/Church
Soldiers
1848
Commissioned by Communist League
Short, A Pamphlet
Introduces Basic Marxist Ideas About Society and Politics, and the Rise of Communism
"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."
I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

Analysis
The key in writing a good thesis is to discover the influence of the appropriate time class struggle, economic influences, and political power.
1859
Analysis of Capitalist Writings by Adam Smith and David Ricardo
Preface Most Important Part
Introduces Economic Interpretation of History
"The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life"
1867, 1885, 1894
Marx's Magnum Opus
AKA Das Kapital
Three Volumes; Only Published One
Remaining Volumes Published by Engels
In-Depth Analysis of the Creation, Development, and Functioning of Capitalism

1917, Old Tzarist Government Was Overthrown
Replaced with Provisional Government
Various Socialist Factions Vied For Control
In October, Bolshevik Party Overthrows Provisional Government
Eventually, USSR Created in 1922
1879-1940
Important Figure in Marxist Thought and the USSR
Removed From Power and Exiled in 1929
Moved to Mexico and Died There
Ideas Formed Basis of Trotskyism
Published Literature and Revolution in 1924
Discussed and Analyzed Literary Trends in Russia Leading Up to the Revolution
Society Forces Affecting Writers
Talks of Art Being a Vehicle for Control
Influential in Marxist Criticism
Marxist Thought Influenced Many
Inspired Leftists, Progressives, Radicals, and Writers
Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Claud McKay
Marxist Ideas Found in Many Other Ideologies
Full transcript