The Lesson: Marxist Criticism

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"The most insistent and vigorous historicism through most of the twentieth century has been Marxism, based on the work of Karl Marx (1818-1883)" (Marxist Criticism"). Even though this critical theory has been proved to be flawed, this theory is quite helpful when used to "interpret the failure of Marxist regimes" (Tyson 49). Some of the fundamental premises include the idea that how an economy functions is the base of every society, that all human events and productions have specific material/historical causes, and that people can be classified into two groups: The bourgeoisie, middle class, and the proletariat.

It was through Karl Marx's life, that Marxism was founded upon. In 1843, after having been forced to discontinue his publication of Rheinische Zeitung which criticized contemporary political and social conditions, Marx made his way to Paris. There, Marx had come to take on communist beliefs. It was only two years later, that a good friend of Marx, Friedrich Engels, came to visit him. They both soon discovered that they "independently arrived at identical views on the nature of revolutionary problems" and and soon collaborated their theoretical principles of communism.

It was not long after Marx's stay in Paris, that he was ordered to leave because of his "revolutionary activities." So, Marx and Engels decided to move to Brussels, and while there they began to organize and direct a network of revolutionary groups known as the Communist Correspondence, which eventually turned into the Communist League. Soon, "the first systematic statement of modern socialist doctrine was born: The Communist Manifesto. This idea was published in Marx's Critique of Political Economy in 1859.

As a result of Marx's work, he was continuously being ordered to leave several cities and countries. In 1848 revolutions were occurring in France and Germany. Marx had posed a threat to the Belgian government making them "fearful that the revolutionary tide would engulf Belgium" and so Marx was banished. He had no where to settle down at, so Marx traveled throughout Europe. He was eventually arrested, but clearly this did not stop Marx form writing what he thought. As Marx's life continued, he wrote several other books on his concept of communism, he started another revolutionary organization called the First International in 1864, and he struggled towards the end of his life to uphold his writings.

During his life, Marx was not regarded highly. It was not until after his death in 1883 that a man by the name of Vladimir Ilich Lenin had continued to develop and apply Marx's theories to literature while publicizing the Marxist Criticism. Marx's ideas continue to be a part of the way in which one examines literature.

One of the main concepts of Marxism is that how an economy functions is the base of every society. This is ultimately where the economic power is held according to this criticism, and this is "the motive behind all social and political activities" (Tyson 50). According to Marx, money equaled power, and Marx believed that this is what fueled social and political superstructures.

Material circumstances, or economic conditions that are in the real and existing world, and historical situation, or socio-economic conditions, are found at the base of understanding of human events and productions. "Marxists analysis of human events and productions focuses on relationships among socioeconomic classes, both within a society and among societies, and explains all human activities in terms of the distribution and dynamics of economic power" (Tyson 50).

When discussing the socioeconomic classes within a society, this refers to how people within a society are being classified as. There are two different groups that one can be classified under. One classification is the bourgeoisie. This refers to the middle class or the people who "control the world's natural, economic, and personal resources." The...
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