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Introduction

Marxist Literary Study and the General Law of Capitalist Accumulation

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

Our introduction is written in three parts. In the first section, we provide an overview of how late twentieth-century Marxist theory understood the development of bourgeoning non-class-based social movements, and grappled with the problem of a capitalism that was simultaneously expanding its reach and declining in profitability. In the second section, we turn to the state of literary study after the 2008 financial crisis. We argue that the aftermath of the economic downturn has altered the coordinates for both the multiculturalism of late twentieth-century literary study, and the forms of Marxist literary criticism that subsisted alongside it. We argue that this situation demands a reading of Marx that goes beyond critiques of commodity fetishism and false consciousness, drawn from the first chapter of Capital, Volume 1, to embrace the whole arc of Marx’s argument in that work. In the final section, we preview the essays collected in the volume.

Type
Chapter
Information
After Marx
Literature, Theory, and Value in the Twenty-First Century
, pp. 1 - 22
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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