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General Introduction to Marxist Theory
#1
Dear members, let's begin with a very general introduction to the Marxist Theory and then the discussion should move towards the complex aspects of the theory. To begin, the idea of Marxist Theory originates from the school of Marxist Thinking. Originally, it originates from Karl Marx himself. Ironically, Karl Marx did not have to do anything in the terms of literary theory or literary criticism. However, a school of literary critics played with the idea - how could Marxist views apply to literary works. And it is here today. 

The forum invites other members to engage in the discussion and begin it! 
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#2
Well, while I don't really believe in Marxist Theory in the purview of literature, I do believe these guys are and were really impressive with their ideology. They first brought something as if executing extradition in the periphery of literature. Then they began riding on the Marxist thought so well that they created a fallacy around themselves. Isn't it all absurd?
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#3
In general, the Marxist theory happens to believe that society is what creates a writer. Which is, to an extent, apt and proper to tell. However, vehemently posing this thing in front of someone and judging an author on the basis of his lifestyle, his income and probably his social appearance instead of his art and craft is something that doesn't hold too much. This is indeed 'death of criticism' in fact.
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#4
Well, guys, Terry Eagleton, one of the most famous or you can say the father-figure who upheld the Marxist literary theory flag, believes that Marxist literary theory is not about the mere sociology of literature... He points that, in-depth, Marxist literary theory is about understanding that a particular form or work of literature is the product of the history of that time - how and why are the questions that it seeks to answer.
Well, to an extent, that is justified and we are supposed to believe so. We have been taught that a writer is the product of his or her time. There are some reflections of one's social history in one's literature. But judging a work of art only on the basis of social and historical footprints cannot be justified itself. This is problematic!
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#5
Well, my question is, what are the general goals of Marxist literary critics? What do they try to find in a work of literature? How do they find what they are looking for? How do they conclude that a work of literature holds Marxist literary values or not?
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#6
Agenda: The agenda of Marxist literary critics is to interpret a text from a social and historical perspective.
What do they look for in a literary text:

Marxist Theorists in literature look for - class representation, class struggle, exploitation of certain section of society, representation of working class, elements of capitalism, elitism, and anything that constructs a possible divide in - one section here and another section there

For example, in the novel Sons and Lovers, you find a certain section which is poor, working class and living in isolated colonies. In the works of Thomas Hardy, there is a wide representation of working-class people - Jude.  In the works of Charles Dickens, there is wide coverage of capitalism and the plights of working class people. This is what a Marxist literary theorist looks for.

If they find a shred of such things in a work of literature, they will study the historical background of that particular age in which this work of literature was produced and will try to link their findings with the work to prove that the author must have been influenced by the social construct of that time.
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#7
Now the explanation above makes very good sense. One can easily understand what does a Marxist critic of literature might do with a literary text. Though there were not many scholars or literary influencers who could concur very much with these critics of the Marxist school of literary thought. And some of the important critics of Marxist school are:

Louis Althusser, Raymond Williams, Terry Eagleton, and to an extent Roland Barthes also makes some contributions to this school of thought.
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#8
I don't believe that Marxist Criticism has a lot to offer in the literary context. It just doesn't fit the frame of modern needs. It is all about loose gleaning of the past that sometimes clicks and most of the times go waste. It is the strictest form of formal criticism that requires a lot of work on the part of a researcher and yields nothing (almost).
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#9
I don't agree entirely with The Procrastinator. I believe, though, that practising Marxist criticism might be tiresome and boring. However, it certainly gives us a lot of information about the writer's society and the conditions prevalent at that time. It will also improve in understanding the context in which the work might exhibit certain qualities. For example, if we look into the background of the work The Waste Land, we can certainly emphasise on the facts what Eliot might be seeing at that time... and, so, in some ways, Marxist Criticism is certainly helpful for the students of literature to unravel the contexts as well as the background of a literary work.
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