2 Literary Criticism is the study, analysis, and evaluation of imaginative literature. Formalist approach - when the work of literature is studied without reference to the history or to the life of the author.Humanistic approach - when philosophy and history are considered. Philosophy explores general ideas, such as truth, beauty, and goodness. It helps readers understand themes of the work. History attempts to determine what happened in the past, and why it happened. History brings forth the life and times of the author.Literary criticism is not “reading between the lines”, it is reading the lines very carefully, in a disciplined and informed manner.
4 Brief history of the ideology: Karl Marx (1818-1883) theory of dialectical materialism: society, politics and economics(Dialectical Materialism: the Marxist theory (adopted as the official philosophy of the Soviet communists) that political and historical events result from the conflict of social forces and are interpretable as a series of contradictions and their solutions. The conflict is believed to be caused by material needs.)criticized the exploitation of the working class (proletariat) by the capitalist class who owned the mines and factories (bourgeoisie)believed the system of production was the most basic fact in social life - whoever controlled it, controlled society - thought the proletariat should own the means of productionhe wanted an even distribution of the wealth among allbelieved a classless society would result of a revolution where the proletariat would gather strength and overthrow the bourgeoisie
5 Marx argued that all mental systems (ideologies) were the products of social and economic realities. To these realities he ascribed religious beliefs, legal systems and cultural expression.Marx emphasized that it is not the consciousness of men that determines their social being, but the other way about.
6 In literary terms:Marxists believe(d) that literature is a reflection of culture. Culture can be affected by literature. Literature can instigate revolution.The middle class are the majority of consumers of literature/art, if they are offered the chance to absorb literature/arts that are outside of the bourgeoisie control, then change of ideology could happen.In terms of the written content - if an author sympathizes with the working class, and condemns the power held by the dominant class - he/she is writing in a Marxist ideology.
7 Literary critique cont. It assesses the political tendency of a literary work.Literature reflects class struggle and materialism: think how often the quest for wealth traditionally defines characters. So Marxists generally view literature "not as works created in accordance with timeless artistic criteria, but as 'products' of the economic and ideological determinants specific to that era". Literature reflects an author's own class or analysis of class relations, however piercing or shallow that analysis may be.
8 Marxism Four Main Areas of Study: (Read as a group) ** Economic powerMaterialism versus spirituality** Class conflict* Art, literature, and ideologies