Social Scientist. v 8, no. 89-90 (Dec-Jan -1) p. 8.


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G B MOHAN

Marxian Literary Theory

MARX and Engels had a comprehensive vision of the interrelationship between material and spiritual phenomena. Their views on art and literature, the product of their encyclopaedic knowledge and interdisciplinary approach, provide us with insights unobtainable from other sources, into the process of artistic production and reception as an integral part of man's historical creativity. Though their plans to make special contributions to aesthetics and criticism did not bear fruit, we can construct an aesthetic and literary theory by applying to the problems of art their general theory of materialist approach to history and basing ourselves on their observations on a wide range of literary movements and authors from Homer to Heine, even if these are fragmentary and unsystematic. Their views on writers and works have a ring of authenticity, arising from their life-long engagement with creative literature in half a dozen European languages. Marx and Engels made extensive use of literary allusions in their writings, even in works of the "dismal science", whose effectiveness and propriety are discussed exhaustively by Prawer.1

However, Marxian aesthetics docs not exist as a self-sufficient and completed structure in the writings of the founders of Marxism. Later Marxian thinkers extended and consolidated the structure



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