This volume constitutes both an attack on modern left wing literary theory - the main product of the last Marxist renaissance in the past thirty years - and a defence of the one element of Marxism which, in the general collapse, modern theorists have been happiest to lose, its economic materialism. It traces Marxist theory from its beginnings in Hegelian idealism to its end in Althusser's structuralism, and concludes that while Marxist economics will not work, and the type of revolution prophesied was fantasy, the principle of historical materialism remains intact and defensible. This will be a key text in literary and cultural studies as well as being of interest to students on philosophy and sociology courses.

part Part One|20 pages

The politics of literary criticism

chapter Chapter One|18 pages

Literary Criticism as Political Reaction

Scholarship, Criticism and Theory in the Twentieth Century

part Part Two|78 pages

The foundations of Marxist theory

chapter Chapter Two|14 pages

The Mental Basis of Reality

Idealism and the Human Subject

chapter Chapter Three|14 pages

A Complete Bourgeois Ideology

The Philosophy of Hegel

chapter Chapter Four|24 pages

Hegelian Marxism

Alienation, the Dialectic and Socialist Science

chapter Chapter Five|24 pages

Scientific Marxism

Marxist Theories of History, Society, Revolution and Value

part Part Three|171 pages

Marxist theory and literature

chapter Chapter Six|33 pages

Economistic Marxism and Critical Interpretation

The Case of Landscape and Caudwell's History of Poetry

chapter Chapter Seven|31 pages

Class-Consciousness and Ideology

Western Marxists Return to Hegel

chapter Chapter Eight|33 pages

Structural Marxism and Power Fantasy

Althusser and Foucault

chapter Chapter Nine|38 pages

The Rejection of Literature

From Raymond Williams to the English Althusserians

chapter Chapter Ten|34 pages

Two Forms of Cultural Materialism

Materialism in Anthropology and in Cultural Studies