This volume constitutes both an attack on modern left wing literary theory - the main product of the last Marxist renaissance in the past thirty years - and a defence of the one element of Marxism which, in the general collapse, modern theorists have been happiest to lose, its economic materialism. It traces Marxist theory from its beginnings in Hegelian idealism to its end in Althusser's structuralism, and concludes that while Marxist economics will not work, and the type of revolution prophesied was fantasy, the principle of historical materialism remains intact and defensible. This will be a key text in literary and cultural studies as well as being of interest to students on philosophy and sociology courses.
Acknowledgements Introduction. A Defence of Materialism Part One: The Politics of Literary Criticism 1. Literary Criticism as a political reaction. Scholarship, Criticism and theory in the 20th century Part Two: The Foundations of Marxist Theory 2. The mental basis of reality. Idealism and the human subject 3. A complete boureois ideology. The Philosophy of Hegel 4. Hegelian Marxism. Alienation , the dialectic and socialist science 5. Scientific Marxism. Marxist theories of history, society, revolution and value Part Three: Marxist Theory and Literature 6. Economistic Marxism and critical interpretation. The case of landscape and Cauldwell's History of Poetry 7. Class consciousness and ideology 8. Structural Marxism and power Fantasy. Althusser and Foucault 9. The Rejection of literature. From Raymond Williams to the English Althusserians 10. Two forms of cultural materialism. Materialism in anthropology and in cultural studies Index