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Chapter 14 - Hidden Abodes and Inner Bonds: Literary Study and Marxist-Feminism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2022

Colleen Lye
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
Christopher Nealon
Affiliation:
Johns Hopkins University
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Summary

This chapter argues that Marxist-feminist methods informed by new readings of Marx that first emerged in Germany in the 1960s can provide capacious and flexible critical tools for feminist analysis. Drawing in particular on the concept of real abstraction, I demonstrate an approach to Marxist-feminist literary study that avoids structuralist and economistic understandings of cultural production, as well as the simplistic notions of false consciousness and ideology critique that inflect much twentieth-century Marxist literary criticism. Rather, Marx’s critique of value as a social form that operates “behind our backs,” as a set of impersonal compulsions that push forward independent of thought, can help us to better understand the dialectics of aesthetic experience – exemplified here in my reading of feminized poetry – as an important mode of sense-perception attuned to (or even able to “theorize”) the dynamic and contradictory reproduction of gender and its mediation by capital.

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Chapter
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After Marx
Literature, Theory, and Value in the Twenty-First Century
, pp. 225 - 239
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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