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Ernst Bloch

Marxism, art and utopia: Critical theory and political aesthetics

 

 

By Cat Moir

 

“After one has enjoyed the first taste of Marxist criticism, one will never again be able to stand ideological hogwash.” – Ernst Bloch, Spirit of Utopia, 1918

 

January 30, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Red Wedge with the author's permission — The relationship between art and society has always been a central question for artists, thinkers and activists on the Left. In the twentieth century, it was commonplace to believe that art has the power to change the world. It was this conviction that motivated Georg Lukács to defend the literary realism of writers like Thomas Mann over the stylistic innovations of a James Joyce. For Lukács (1977: 33), literature was “a particular form by means of which objective reality is reflected,” and as such it was “of crucial importance for it to grasp that reality as it truly is.” By displaying social reality in all its contradictory complexity, Lukács believed, art could serve the interests of class struggle and social emancipation.

 

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