Marxist Criticism Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Ian H. Birchall (essay date 1977)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Birchall, Ian H. “Marxism and Literature.” In The Sociology of Literature: Theoretical Approaches, edited by Jane Routh and Janet Wolff, pp. 92-108. Keele, Staffordshire: University of Keele, 1977.

[In the following essay, Birchall sketches out a brief history of the Marxist theory of literature and its main deviants.]

Marxism is a body of ideas which sees all human history as the history of class struggle. In particular, it is concerned to analyse the dynamics and contradictions of the capitalist system, and to show how the working class has the historical potential to overthrow capitalism and establish a classless, socialist society. Marxism stands or...

(The entire section is 6755 words.)

Douwe Fokkema and Elrud Ibsch (essay date 1978)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fokkema, Douwe, and Elrud Ibsch. “Marxist Theories of Literature.” In Theories of Literature in the Twentieth Century: Structuralism, Marxism, Aesthetics of Reception, Semiotics, pp. 81-135. London: C. Hurst & Company/New York: St. Martin's Press, 1978.

[In the following essay, Fokkema and Ibsch analyze Marxist literary theory from a metatheoretical point of view.]

Marxism is a philosophy of contradictions, and any attempt to explain Marxist theory in a rational way will encounter apparent inconsistencies. The belief in the primacy of material conditions and the simultaneous effort to emphasize the human role in changing these conditions is one of the...

(The entire section is 25044 words.)

Terry Eagleton (essay date 1990)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Eagleton, Terry. “Marxism and the Future of Criticism.” In Writing the Future, edited by David Wood, pp. 177-80. London and New York: Routledge, 1990.

[In the following essay, Eagleton discusses the difficulty of dealing with the future in terms of Marxist literary theory.]

Marxists differ from most other theorists in that for them the future is at once the most crucial and most neglected historical tense. A Marxist is only secondarily enthused by the current hermeneutical or deconstructive wrangles over the knowability or otherwise of the past, and the relation of past to present, since for Marxism there is no important knowledge of either past or present...

(The entire section is 1513 words.)