Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-l48q4 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-03-01T05:31:48.452Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

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

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 March 2022

Colleen Lye
University of California, Berkeley
Christopher Nealon
Johns Hopkins University
Get access


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.

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

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Barrett, Michèle. Women’s Oppression Today: The Marxist/Feminist Encounter. Verso, 1988.Google Scholar
Best, Beverley. “Distilling a Value Theory of Ideology from Volume Three of Capital.” Historical Materialism, vol. 23, no. 3, 2015, pp. 101141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bhandar, Brenna and Toscano, Alberto. “Race, Real Estate, and Real Abstraction.” Radical Philosophy, no. 194, 2015, pp. 917.Google Scholar
Bonefeld, Werner. Critical Social Theory and the Critique of Political Economy. Bloomsbury, 2014.Google Scholar
Cecire, Natalia. “Ways of Not Reading Gertrude Stein.” ELH, vol. 82, no. 1, 2015, pp. 281312.Google Scholar
Clover, Joshua. “Value | Theory | Crisis.” PMLA, vol. 127, no. 1, 2012, pp. 107114.Google Scholar
Dalla Costa, Mariarosa and James, Selma. The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community. Falling Wall Press, 1972.Google Scholar
De’Ath, Amy. Unsociable Poetry: Antagonism and Abstraction in Contemporary Feminized Poetics. 2017. Simon Fraser University, PhD dissertation.Google Scholar
Elbe, Ingo. “Between Marx, Marxism and Marxisms: Ways of Reading Marx’s Theory.” Viewpoint Magazine, 2013, Scholar
Elson, Diane. “The Value Theory of Labour.” Value: The Representation of Labour in Capitalism, ed. Elson, Diane. Verso, 1979, pp. 115180.Google Scholar
Endnotes. “The Logic of Gender.” Endnotes, vol. 3, 2013, pp. 5690.Google Scholar
Federici, Silvia. Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking, and Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism. PM Press, 2020.Google Scholar
Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation . Autonomedia, 2004.Google Scholar
Federici, Silvia. Wages Against Housework. Power of Women Collective and Falling Wall Press, 1975.Google Scholar
Fortunati, Leopoldina. The Arcane of Reproduction: Housework, Prostitution, Labor and Capital. Autonomedia, 1995.Google Scholar
Franklin, Seb. The Digitally Disposed: Racial Capitalism and the Informatics of Value. University of Minnesota Press, 2021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gabriel, Kay. “You Say Wife.” Social Text, 2019, Scholar
Hennessy, Rosemary. Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism. Routledge, 2000.Google Scholar
Lotze, Rudolf Hermann. Logik. Erstes Buch. Vom Denken [1874]. Meiner, 1989.Google Scholar
Lowe, Lisa. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Duke University Press, 2015.Google Scholar
Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 1. Penguin, 1976.Google Scholar
Marx, Karl. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Vol. 3. Penguin, 1981.Google Scholar
Marx, Karl. “Afterword to the Second German Edition of Capital.” The Marx–Engels Reader, edited by Tucker, Robert C.. Norton, 1978.Google Scholar
Meiksins Wood, Ellen. “Capitalism and Human Emancipation.” New Left Review, vol. 167, 1998, pp. 320.Google Scholar
Nealon, Christopher. “Value | Theory | Crisis.” PMLA, vol. 127, no. 1, 2012, pp. 101106.Google Scholar
Ngai, Sianne. “Visceral Abstractions.” GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, vol. 21, no. 1, 2015, pp. 3363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Salamon, Gayle. Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality. Columbia University Press, 2010.Google Scholar
Scholz, Roswitha. “Patriarchy and Commodity Society: Gender without the Body.” Marxism and the Critique of Value, edited by Larsen, Neil et al. MCM Publishing, 2014.Google Scholar
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Tendencies. Duke University Press, 1994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sohn-Rethel, Alfred. Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology, edited and translated by Sohn-Rethel, M. Macmillan, 1978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spahr, Juliana and Clover, Joshua. “Gender Abolition and Ecotone War.” The South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 115, no. 2, 2016, pp. 291311.Google Scholar
Stein, Gertrude. Tender Buttons. Dover, 1997.Google Scholar
Szeman, Imre. “Who’s Afraid of National Allegory? Jameson, Literary Criticism, Globalization.” South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 100, no. 3, 2001, pp. 803827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vogel, Lise. Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory. Rutgers University Press, 1983.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats