Marxism is a sociological approach to literature that viewed works of literature or art as the products of historical forces that can be analyzed by looking at the material conditions in which they were formed. Marxism generally focuses on the clash between the dominant and repressed classes in any given age and also may encourage art to imitate what is often termed an "objective" reality. Contemporary Marxism is much broader in its focus, and views art as simultaneously reflective and autonomous to the age in which it was produced. Marxist literary theories tend to focus on the representation of class conflict as well as the reinforcement of class distinctions through the medium of literature. Marxist theorists use traditional techniques of literary analysis but subordinate aesthetic concerns to the final social and political meanings of literature. Marxist theorist often champion authors sympathetic to the working classes and authors whose work challenges economic equalities found in capitalist societies. Main key features of Marxism are commodificaion, conspicuous consumption, dialectical materialism, material circumstances, reflectionism, superstructure etc. Major figures include Karl Marx, Terry Eagleton, Fredric Jameson, Raymond Williams, Louis Althusser, Walter Benjamin, Antonio Gramsci, Georg Lukacs, Friedrich Engels, Theordor Adorno, Edward Ahern, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.
Like Freudian theory, Marxist theory's influence on Modern art and literature can be first broken down by its influence of writers, and the works they produced, and on readers, and the way critics use Marxist theory to interpret the works.
Influence On Writers:
Under the influence of Marxist theory, an author is interested in examining:
a) History as Historical Materialism: The author hopes to show how all human relations are at root a class struggle between oppressor and oppressed, and/or...