Loading...

ENGL301: Introduction to Literary Theory

Unit 5: Marxism, Ideology, and Materialism   In this unit, you will examine approaches to literature that are largely sociological in nature, as many of the thinkers you are about to encounter understand works of literature as products of historical forces that are best analyzed through careful consideration of the material conditions in which they were produced. This unit will focus on literary theories that explore the historical, social, cultural, and political conditions under which literature is formed and produced.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take you approximately 21 hours.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 6 hours ☐    Subunit 5.1.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.4: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.1.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2: 8 hours ☐    Subunit 5.2.1: 5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.2: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2.3: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 7 hours ☐    Subunit 5.3.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3.3: 3 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- define and explain the importance of the concepts of Marxism, ideology, dialectical materialism, false consciousness, mode of production, and materialist criticism; and - compare and contrast the works of a number of influential Marxist critics, including Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Theodor W. Adorno, and Mikhail Bakhtin.

5.1 Marxism 101   5.1.1 Karl Marx and His Ideas   - Reading: Marxists Internet Archive’s version of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s “Manifesto of the Communist Party” and The Saylor Foundation’s An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack: “Marxist Theory”

Link: Marxists Internet Archive’s version of Karl Marx and Friedrich
Engels’s [“Manifesto of the Communist
Party”](http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm) (HTML)
and The Saylor Foundation’s *An Introduction to Literary Theory*
Coursepack: [“Marxist
Theory”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ENGL301-Marxist-Theory.pdf) (PDF)  

 **“Manifesto of the Communist Party” (The Communist Manifesto)**
also is available in:  

 [PDF](http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/sw/course/mscp.pdf)  

[Kindle](http://www.amazon.com/The-Communist-Manifesto-ebook/dp/B000JQUHLC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1280952012&sr=1-1)
(Free)  
    
Instructions: First, in “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” read the
section titled “Preamble” as well as “Chapter I: Bourgeois and
Proletarians.” One of the most influential documents ever written,
the Communist Manifesto presents history as a continuous process of
change and transformation that is motivated by class struggle. The
Saylor Foundation’s *An Introduction to Literary Theory* Coursepack
may be downloaded at the top of this course, or the section titled
“Marxist Theory” may be downloaded from the link above. Read that
section and answer the study questions provided at the end of the
section.  

 Following your reading, consider also answering the following
questions: How does capital operate in society, according to Marx?
How has class struggle influenced the history of the Western world?
How do systems of power operate, according to Marx?  

 Completing these readings should take approximately 2 hours.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

5.1.2 What Is Ideology?   - Reading: Marxists Internet Archive: Encyclopedia of Marxism’s “Glossary of Terms:” “Ideology”

Link: Marxists Internet Archive: *Encyclopedia of Marxism*’s
“Glossary of
Terms:” [“Ideology”](http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/i/d.htm) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Read the glossary’s short definition of *ideology*,
which provides you with a basic overview of the term as it relates
to Marxist theory.  
    
 Reading this definition should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.3 Class and Consumption   - Reading: Purdue University: Dr. Dino Felluga’s Introductory Guide to Critical Theory: “Modules on Marx:” “I: On Ideology,” “II: On the Stages of Economic Development,” “III: On Capital,” and “IV: On Commodity Fetishism” Link: Purdue University: Dr. Dino Felluga’s Introductory Guide to Critical Theory: “Modules on Marx:” “I: On Ideology,” “II: On the Stages of Economic Development,” “III: On Capital,” and “IV: On Commodity Fetishism” (HTML)

Instructions: Read the four sections of Dr. Felluga’s overview of
Marxism for more on Marx’s ideas about materialism, class, and
consumption.  

 Following your reading, consider answering the following question:
How does an understanding of Marx’s theories help us to interpret
literature?  

 Reading these sections should take approximately 2 hours.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

5.1.4 Dialectical Materialism   - Reading: The University of Toronto: Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown’s Glossary of Literary Theory: “Dialectical Criticism”

Link: The University of Toronto: Greig E. Henderson and Christopher
Brown’s *Glossary of Literary Theory*: [“Dialectical
Criticism”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Dialectical-Criticism.pdf) (PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Read the definition of *dialectical criticism* for a
discussion of the term as it relates to Marxist literary theory.  

 Following your reading, consider answering the following question:
How can the principles of dialectical criticism be applied to the
study of literature?  

Reading this definition should take approximately 30 minutes.


 Terms of Use: The material linked above has been reposted by the
kind permission of Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown, and can
be viewed in its original form
[here](http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/glossary/Dialectical_criticism.html).
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder. 

5.1.5 Engels and *False Consciousness*   - Reading: Marxists Internet Archive: Encyclopedia of Marxism’s “Glossary of Terms:” “False Consciousness” and Marx-Engels Correspondence 1893: “Engels to Franz Mehring”

Link: Marxists Internet Archive: *Encyclopedia of Marxism*’s
“Glossary of Terms:” [“False
Consciousness”](http://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/f/a.htm) (HTML)
and *Marx-Engels Correspondence 1893*: [“Engels to Franz
Mehring”](http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1893/letters/93_07_14.htm) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Access the readings from the Marxists Internet
Archive, beginning with the definition of *false consciousness*
(found by scrolling down the webpage), which provides an excellent
review of the implications of this term. Then, read the entire
letter from German philosopher Friedrich Engels to his
editor-colleague Franz Mehring for a more in-depth discussion of
false consciousness.  

 Following your reading, consider answering the following questions:
How might false consciousness serve a particular societal or
political agenda? How does Engels suggest that false consciousness
impacts social interactions and history?  

Completing these readings should take approximately 1 hour.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

5.2 Marxist and Materialist Literary Criticism   5.2.1 Theodor W. Adorno and Mass Culture   - Reading: Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media: Thomas Andrae’s “Adorno on Film and Mass Culture”

Link: *Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media*: Thomas Andrae’s
[“Adorno on Film and Mass
Culture”](http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC20folder/AdornoMassCult.html) (HTML)  

 Instructions: Access Thomas Andrae’s journal article, which
discusses Theodor W. Adorno’s cultural theory and criticism of mass
culture.  Following your reading, consider answering the following
question: What are some of Adorno’s criticisms of mass culture and
production?  

Reading this article should take approximately 2 hours.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: Yale University’s Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Theory of Literature: Dr. Paul H. Fry’s “Lecture 17: The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory”

    Link: Yale University’s Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Theory of Literature: Dr. Paul H. Fry’s “Lecture 17: The Frankfurt School of Critical Theory” (YouTube)

    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and Quicktime

    Instructions: Watch the 52-minute lecture. Note that a transcript, audio MP3 file, QuickTime, and Flash versions of the video may be found on Yale’s Open Yale Courses website, also linked above.

    Following your viewing of the lecture, consider answering the following questions: What were the key principles of the Frankfurt School of critical theory? How do the principles of this school relate to or differ from the principles of New Criticism?

    Watching this lecture should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

  • Reading: Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Peter Osborne and Dr. Charles Matthew’s “Walter Benjamin;” Rice University Digital Scholarship Archive: The Rice University Studies 57, no. 4 (1971): Dr. René Wellek’s “The Early Literary Criticism of Walter Benjamin”

    Link: Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Peter Osborne and Dr. Charles Matthew’s “Walter Benjamin” (HTML); Rice University Digital Scholarship Archive: The Rice University Studies 57, no. 4 (1971): Dr. René Wellek’s “The Early Literary Criticism of Walter Benjamin” (PDF)

    Instructions: Access the readings, beginning with the opening comments and sections 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 from the Benjamin encyclopedia entry. Then, read Dr. Wellek’s essay on Benjamin (click on the PDF link featured on the webpage to access the essay). As you read Wellek’s essay, pay particular attention to Benjamin’s ideas about art (including literature), history, and language.

    Following your reading, consider answering the following questions: How do Benjamin’s ideas about history and art corroborate Marxist theory? How do Benjamin’s ideas differ from Marxist theory?

    Completing these readings should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.2.2 Terry Eagleton and Materialist Criticism   - Reading: The University of Tennessee’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Vince Brewton’s “Marxism and Critical Theory” Link: The University of Tennessee’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy:Dr. Vince Brewton’s “Marxism and Critical Theory” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the encyclopedia section titled “Marxism and Critical Theory.” This article provides you with a broad overview of Marxist theory; focus specifically on the discussion of Terry Eagleton’s contributions to literary criticism as you read.
 
Reading this section should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 “Always Historicize:” Fredric Jameson’s Re-Writing of Marxist Thought   - Reading: West Chester University’s version of Fredric Jameson’s The Political Unconscious: “On Interpretation: Literature as a Socially Symbolic Act;” and The Saylor Foundation’s An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack: “Fredric Jameson’s Post-Marxism”

Link: West Chester University’s version of Fredric Jameson’s *The
Political Unconscious*: [“On Interpretation: Literature as a
Socially Symbolic
Act”](http://courses.wcupa.edu/fletcher/special/jameson.htm) (HTML);
and The Saylor Foundation’s *An Introduction to Literary Theory*
Coursepack: [“Fredric Jameson’s
Post-Marxism”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ENGL301-Frederic-Jameson.pdf) (PDF)  
    
Instructions: Access the readings, beginning with the excerpt from
Jameson’s *The Political Unconscious*, which establishes a structure
for the political analysis of literary texts. Building on Marxist
theory, Jameson’s *The Political Unconscious* examines and
problematizes the interpretive frameworks through which we
understand and, in a sense, construct a literary work. The Saylor
Foundation’s *An Introduction to Literary Theory* Coursepack may be
downloaded at the top of this course, or the section titled “Fredric
Jameson's Post-Marxism” may be downloaded from the link above. Read
the section and answer the study questions provided at the end of
the section.  

 Following your reading, consider also answering the following
questions: What does Jameson mean by his direction to “always
historicize”? What does Jameson suggest about the proper way of
approaching literature through this statement? How does Jameson
conceptualize Marxist theory?  

 Reading these sections should take approximately 1.5 hours.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.
  • Lecture: Yale University’s Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Theory of Literature: Dr. Paul H. Fry’s “Lecture 18: The Political Unconscious”

    Link: Yale University’s Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Theory of Literature: Dr. Paul H. Fry’s “Lecture 18: The Political Unconscious” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and Quicktime
     
    Instructions: Watch the 54-minute lecture. Note that a transcript, audio MP3 file, and QuickTime and Flash versions of the video may be found on Yale’s Open Yale Courses website, also linked above.

    Following your viewing of the lecture, consider answering the following question: What is the political unconscious, according to Dr. Fry and Fredric Jameson?

    Watching this lecture should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.3 Society, Literature, and Culture: An Introduction to Mikhail Bakhtin   5.3.1 Mikhail Bakhtin   - Reading: The University of Tennessee’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Craig Brandist’s “The Bakhtin Circle” and The Saylor Foundation’s An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack: “Bakhtin and the Carnivalesque” Link: The University of Tennessee’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Craig Brandist’s “The Bakhtin Circle” (HTML); and The Saylor Foundation’s An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack: “Bakhtin and the Carnivalesque” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Access the readings, beginning with the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy’s entry on Bakhtin, for a summary of his ideas. The Saylor Foundation’s An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack may be downloaded at the top of this course, or the section titled “Bakhtin and the Carnivalesque” may be downloaded from the link above. Read that section and answer the study questions provided at the end of the section.
 
Following your reading, consider also answering the following questions: What are Bakhtin’s major contributions to literary theory? How does Bakhtin’s notion of the carnival allow writers to question and examine authority and behavioral norms?
 
Completing these readings should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.3.2 Mikhail Bakhtin: Theories of Language and Dialogism   - Reading: The University of Tennessee’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Craig Brandist’s “The Bakhtin Circle” and The University of Bucharest: Dr. Radu Surdulescu’s “Mikhail Bakhtin and the Formalist Theories”

Link: The University of Tennessee’s *Internet Encyclopedia of
Philosophy*: Dr. Craig Brandist’s [“The Bakhtin
Circle”](http://www.iep.utm.edu/bakhtin/) (HTML) and The University
of Bucharest: Dr. Radu Surdulescu’s [“Mikhail Bakhtin and the
Formalist
Theories”](http://ebooks.unibuc.ro/lls/RaduSurdulescu-FormStructuality/Mikhail%20Bakhtin%20and%20the%20Formalist%20Theories.htm) (HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Access the readings, beginning with the encyclopedia
entry titled “The Bakhtin Circle,” in which you should focus on the
following sections: the introduction, the section titled “Bakhtin
and the Theory of the Novel: 1933-1941,” and the conclusion. After
reading the encyclopedia entry, read Dr. Surdulescu’s essay titled
“Mikhail Bakhtin and the Formalist Theories.”  

 Following your reading, consider answering the following questions:
How does Bakhtin’s notion of the word as *utterance* differ from
Ferdinand de Saussure’s theory of language? What is Bakhtin’s
concept of *polyphony*, or *dialogism*, as it is related to the
novel?  
    
 Reading these sections should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.

5.3.3 The Novel and Heteroglossia   - Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Mikhail Bakhtin’s ‘Discourse in the Novel;’” Project Gutenberg’s version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; and The Saylor Foundation’s An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack: “Applying Theory to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Mikhail Bakhtin’s [‘Discourse in the
Novel’](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/ENGL301-Bakhtin.pdf)”
(PDF); Project Gutenberg’s
[version](http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1342/1342-h/1342-h.htm) of
Jane Austen’s *Pride and Prejudice* (HTML); and The Saylor
Foundation’s *An Introduction to Literary Theory*
Coursepack: [*“Applying Theory to Jane Austen’s* *Pride and
Prejudice”*](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/ENGL301-Applying-Theory-to-Jane-Austen.pdf) (PDF)  
    
 Instructions: Access the readings, beginning with the Saylor
Foundation’s excerpts from Bakhtin’s essay “Discourse in the Novel,”
for a sense of Bakhtin’s principle theories. “Discourse in the
Novel” is perhaps the most distilled version of Bakhtin’s theories
concerning language, ideology, and discourse. In it, he claims that
every human utterance is part of a complex web of dialogic
interrelations with other utterances.  

Following your exploration of Bakhtin, read all of Chapter 1 of Jane
Austen’s *Pride and Prejudice* *and the Saylor Foundation’s
“Applying Theory to Jane Austen’s* *Pride and Prejudice” from
Saylor’s* *An Introduction to Literary Theory Coursepack.* The
coursepack may be downloaded at the top of this course, or the
section titled “Applying Theory to Jane Austen's *Pride and
Prejudice*” may be downloaded from the link above. Read the section
and answer the study questions provided at the end of the section.
Keep this reading in mind for the next assignment, in which you will
listen to Dr. Fry’s lecture discussing *heteroglossia* in the text
more specifically.  
    
 Reading these sections should take approximately 2 hours.


 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.
  • Lecture: Yale University’s Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Theory of Literature: Dr. Paul H. Fry’s “Lecture 16: The Social Permeability of Reader and Text”

    Link: Yale University’s Open Yale Courses: Introduction to Theory of Literature: Dr. Paul H. Fry’s “Lecture 16: The Social Permeability of Reader and Text” (YouTube)

    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and Quicktime
     
    Instructions: Watch the 50-minute lecture for a discussion of Bakhtin’s theories. Note that a transcript, audio MP3 file, and QuickTime and Flash versions of the video may be found on Yale’s Open Yale Courses website, also linked above.

    After watching the lecture, consider answering the following question: How does Dr. Fry characterize the relationship between reader and text?
     
    Watching this lecture should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.