Post-Marxist fictions: an approach to C21st British & American Literature

Rowcroft, Andrew (2016) Post-Marxist fictions: an approach to C21st British & American Literature. In: Cumberland Lodge, 'Life After the PhD, 30th August to 2nd September, Great Park, Windsor.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
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What’s Left? Marxism, American Fiction, and Literary Criticism

The crisis and collapse Marxism as the dominant paradigm of left intellectual thought was undoubtedly one of the most important events in the ideological history of the late twentieth century. Seeking to respond to recent political defeats and the rise of new intellectual challenges, a number of theorists and intellectuals set out to establish more modest and malleable forms of Marxism than the one that came to dominate twentieth century thought.

This ‘post-Marxism’, argues Stuart Sim, now a well-established theoretical position concerned with rescuing aspects of Marxist thought from the collapse of Marxism as a global cultural and political force’. Despite Sim’s pronouncement however, post-Marxism remains one of the most contested terms in the modern critical vocabulary, somewhat akin to the twentieth century problematic of post-modernism or post-structuralism.

While an undercurrent of study in philosophy and the social and political sciences, there exists no sustained attempt to explore the relations between this distinct mode of theorisation and narrative fiction. My thesis articulates the first attempt to do so by positioning twenty-first century Anglo-American fiction as post-Marxist. As such, it stages a number of encounters between key contemporary novels, such Dissident Gardens, Eat the Document, The City & The City, Bleeding Edge, and Red Mars, and theoretical accounts by Ernesto Laclau, Zizek, Alain Badiou, and others. Arguing these fictions prompt both a revitalisation and rethinking of modern Marxism, I seek to construct a new narrative category.

Keywords:Marxism and literature, American studies
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V550 Philosophy of Science
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
ID Code:23380
Deposited On:06 Jul 2016 19:43

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