Study Guide

Fredric Jameson - Marxist Literary Theorists

Marxist Literary Theorists

This group treated books like corpses under an autopsy. Marxism may not be on the surface, but the MLTs aren't afraid to get into the viscera—the guts, man. When this group got together, it played games like "Race to the Ideology," "Which Dickens novel has the most hidden Marxist messages?" and "Human Commodity of the Week." This last game can be a bit painful, but let's face it: capitalism and the media love to sell certain commodified images of people. Did someone say Miley Cyrus?

György Lukács
President

Sure, he was a Communist at first, but he later became an important Marxist literary critic. (Being a straight-up Communist and being a Marxist literary critic are very different things.) Anyway, based on the guy's name alone, he deserves a central role in this group.

Lukács's big thing was literary realism, because he felt that realist books, because they are so full of realistic detail, are great views into social struggle and class conflict. Some of his favorite authors were Gustave Flaubert, Leo Tolstoy, and Honoré de Balzac.

Leon Trotsky
Rabble Rouser

His book Literature and Revolution was a manifesto. Even though it focused on Soviet literature, the anger and insight are there. He made literature matter.

Ralph Ellison
Honorary Member and Resident Contrarian

This American author of Invisible Man was a reluctant member. He did not see himself as a Marxist literary critic, but his book showed the good, the bad, and the ugly of Communism, so he was sort of a Marxist-critic-author.

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