Marxist criticism
in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
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The aim of Marxism is to bring about a classless society, based on the common ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Steiner calls the two main streams of Marxist criticism, of the 1960s and of the 1970s, the Engelsian Marxist criticism, which stresses the necessary freedom of art from direct political determinism. The Leninist Marxist criticism insists on the need for art to be explicitly committed to the political cause of the Left. This chapter outlines the key terms and concepts of the Marxist thinking on literature introduced by Louis Althusser. A STOP and THINK section helps readers ponder over how the nature of literature is influenced by the social and political circumstances in which it is produced. The chapter describes some critical activities of Marxists and presents an example of Marxist criticism, which mainly shows the Marxist critical activities.

Beginning theory (fourth edition)

An introduction to literary and cultural theory


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